SAFC fan to drive John O’Groats to Land’s End in electric car to raise cash for Cancer Research UK

A self confessed Sunderland AFC fanatic is to drive an all-electric car from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 5:03 pm

Eric Bowman has been an SAFC supporter all his life and, alongside his partner Laila Wesenlund, he will drive the hired BMW the length of Britain with a target figure of £837 – the distance in miles they will travel.

Their 10-day adventure begins in the Highlands on June 10 and they expect to be in Cornwall 12 days later. They can only travel 150 miles a day due to restrictions on the car. Before setting off they called in at the Stadium of Light to create a bit of publicity for their fundraiser.

Eric, 64, was inspired in his efforts by his mother Elsie, 94, who along with a group of friends has raised over £350,000 for the charity since 1981, with a long list of fundraising events.

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Laila Wesenlund and Eric Bowman are raising money for Cancer Research UK by driving from John O'Groats to Land's End in an electric car. Picture by Stu Norton.

The retired electrician is keen to add to the total and is looking forward to the trip. He is confident that his fellow Sunderland supporters will be as generous as ever.

Eric, who now lives in Seaton in Devon but is originally from Brandon, near Durham city, and said: “There are Sunderland fans among the people we are going with. It’s a great way to start.

“Visiting the stadium should raise the profile. We’re not going to shout at people to ask for money, but if they want to donate, they can donate.”

Laila said: “The people of Sunderland and Sunderland supporters are always very generous when it comes to charity.

Laila Wesenlund and Eric Bowman are raising money by driving from John O'Groats to Land's End in an electric car. Behind are Greta Hodgson and Claire Waise from Cancer Research UK.

“We’re looking forward to meeting lots of people and the scenery. We’re not looking forward to worrying about where the next charging points are!”

The couple feel it’s appropriate they should raise the money in such an environmentally friendly vehicle. Laila added: “The environment and cancer are very much linked”

Becky Trout of Cancer Research UK said: “Eric and Laila have been doing lots of preparation and we’re sure they are going to have an amazing experience. We can’t thank them both enough for their support and want to wish them the very best on the journey.”

All costs incurred on the journey will be met by Eric and Laila themselves.

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