The HELP for HEROES 4×4 EUROPEAN RALLY has now raised over £1,000,000 for the charity since its launch on Armed Forces Day in 2010. Initially the idea of the Father and Son organisers, Keith Bowen and Tim Price-Bowen, was to run a one-off 4×4 event through Europe, consisting of 10 vehicles and to raise £20,000 for Help for Heroes. The was so much interest in the first year that the numbers were increased to 30 vehicles and then finally being capped at 45 vehicles. Since 2010 this ‘one-off’ event has now turned into to an annual event, averaging 40+ 4x4s taking part each year.
The general idea of having a route which follows the path and tells the story of the WWII Allied Invasion through Europe, also including some areas of the ‘Western Front’ of WWI, stays the same each year, but some elements are added and removed each year just to keep the crews on their toes. The event starts each year at 1130hrs from Littlecote House Hotel in Hungerford, which was the Headquarters of the US 101st Airborne Division in England during the Second World War and also was used in the filming of the ‘Band of Brothers’ Book and HBO Series.
This 2000+mile/3200+km expedition now encompasses 7 European countries over a period of 12 days; concluding at Hitler’s impenetrable Eagles’ Nest in Bavaria, Germany. This non-speed touring assembly will be part military history tour (including museums etc), fun activities, part off-road driving and part club-type social, open to road-legal 4×4 vehicles. The whole focus is the raising of funds for the event’s chosen charity, HELP for HEROES.
In September 2011 the HELP for HEROES 4×4 EUROPEAN RALLY organisers were invited to attend the ‘H4H HERO Awards’ gathering at Tedworth House, which is the new Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centre (PRAC). The rally were proud to be awarded a ‘HERO’ Award for ‘Outstanding Dedication for the Organisation of the H4H 4×4 European Rally’.
On May 20th 2013, the HELP for HEROES 4×4 EUROPEAN RALLY organisers had the privilege and honour to be invited to the Official Royal Opening of Tedworth House, which is one of the Help for Heroes led Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centre (PRAC). The PRAC was opened by HRH Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry – www.helpforheroes.org.uk/news/recovery-centres-opening
ABOVE: The Help for Heroes 4×4 European Rally Organisers with H4H Patron ‘Peta Todd (now Peta Cavendish)’ -
The event was privileged to have Peta ‘flag-off’ the start of the event in 2011.
Reference material: There is a wealth of reading and research material available on the route of the Allied Invasion of 1944/5. Herewith, some books used as reference by the H4H 4×4 European Rally organisers;
‘D-Day’ The Normandy landings in the words of those who took part – Edited by Jon E Lewis. ISBN: 798-1-84901-579-0
‘Pegasus Bridge’ D-Day: the daring British Airborne Raid – By Stephen E Ambrose. ISBN: 978-1-84739-762-1
‘The Battle for the Rhine 1944’ Arnhem and the Ardennes; The Campaign in Europe – By Robin Neillands. ISBN 978-1-40722-127-4
‘Band of Brothers’ – By Stephen E Ambrose. ISBN: 978-0-7434-2990-0
‘Fighting Them on the Beaches’ The D-Day Landings June 6 1944 – By Nigel Cawthorne. ISBN: 1-84193-113-6