Sunderland soldier leads European convoy to help heroes

Rally for Heroes convoy around Europe.
From left Mick Clark and Brian Crammon

Rally for Heroes convoy around Europe. From left Mick Clark and Brian Crammon

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A Sunderland soldier is hitting the road to cover 3,000 miles in aid of fellow Forces personnel.

Mick Clark from Easington Lane, who is currently serving with the 1st Regiment Royal Military Police in Catterick Garrison, will lead a 60-strong convoy of vehicles, driven by both military personnel and civilians, around Europe in this year’s Rally for Heroes.

Rally for Heroes convoy around Europe.
From left Mick Clark and Brian Crammon

Rally for Heroes convoy around Europe. From left Mick Clark and Brian Crammon

Mick started the event in 2010 whilst deployed in Afghanistan to raise money for forces charities, by driving five miles for each member of the forces that gave their lives while on operations in Afghanistan since 2001.

Over the years, the drive has snowballed into an event that has raised more than £250,000 for Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion and SSAFA.

This year’s rally, which is aiming to raise £100,000 for SSAFA, will begin at HMS Victory in Portsmouth on August 5, and will see drivers cover almost 3,000 miles in eight days travelling through France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco and Spain before returning to the UK on August 13.

Mick, who was awarded an MBE in 2013 for his services to charity as well as a Pride of Wearside award in 2012, said: “We still drive five miles for each forces personnel killed in Afghanistan, it’s always a very poignant event.

“Due to the planning involved we stage it every two years and it’s grown and grown, this year we are at capacity for drivers.”

Mick, who organises the rally with commander Steve Shaw RN based in Portsmouth and Warrant Officer Class 2 Benn Laidler MBE based in Yeovilton, said: “Our event, unlike the majority of other events, sees all of the participants cover 100% of their own costs to take part which means every penny that is donated goes straight to the charity themselves.

“Unlike other rallies we work extremely closely with the local authorities and in 2014 we were given the first ever police escort for a foreign event all the way to Luxembourg city centre and we were then hosted by the British Ambassador.

“We are already working with the British Embassy for 2016 and have secured a fantastic photo shoot opportunity within Brussels tying in the military and motoring aspect of that city.”

Mick said: “People have been so supportive of the event and this year Persimmon Homes have sponsored us which has helped ensure the future of the rally.”