A SOLDIER has completed a gruelling European road trip to help troops injured on the front line.
Corporal Mick Clark, who serves with the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, was among dozens of drivers who took to the road for the epic Rally for Heroes.
Last month, he embarked on the seven-day race to raise funds for the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.
The feat, which included routes through England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Monaco, raised more than £115,000 for the charities.
“The event itself was amazing,” said Cpl Clark.
“The visit to Thiepval War Memorial, near Amiens, in Northern France, was also one of the most emotional days.
“We were given a brief talk and insight into the fighting that took place on the Somme in World War One, which brought a tear to many of the participants’ eyes. It was followed by a small memorial service.”
The 35-year-old, who is from Sunderland but is based in Germany, was accompanied by co-driver Paul Brown, a Nissan worker, from Ryhope, on the 50-car trip.
In 2010, the pair, who drove a Ford Focus, completed a similar fund-raiser, the Help for Heroes Road Trip, which topped £32,000.
“After arriving in the Alps, it was like being on a different planet,” said Cpl Clark.
“The views from around Lake Como were amazing, but as we gained height through the mountains it just got better and better.
“We even travelled across the Grossglockner Pass, in Austria, which is the second highest paved road in Europe, and is only open for roughly five months a year due to the amount of snowfall in the area.”
In France, they also completed the Le Mans raceway circuit and drove across the world-famous Millau Viaduct.
“Travelling across the second highest road bridge in the world, with 58 fully-decorated cars, was truly spectacular,” he said.
Cpl Clark, who dedicated months to planning the trip, paid tribute to his sponsors.
“We want to thank them all,” said Cpl Clark, a dad-of-one. “They included National Express, Hewlett Packard, M&S, B&Q, Greggs, Jaguar and Grant&Green.
“They were many others and we couldn’t have done it without their help.”