Dartford Dealer in Charity Challenge - Tire Review Magazine

Dartford Dealer in Charity Challenge

(Clacton, U.K./Tyres & Accessories) A big-hearted Dartford tyre dealer is gearing up for the challenge of a lifetime in aid of charity.

Paul Vanner is joining 99 other people from across the U.K. in a project called Riders for Health, which aims to provide remote African villages with motorbikes, which are vital to enable them to obtain medical supplies from towns often hundreds of miles away.

Vanner, who runs First Stop outlet Watling Tyres on East Hill, explained: “When we arrive in Port Elizabeth, in South Africa, we will split into 10 groups each consisting of 10 motorbike riders and one support unit. We will then travel to 10 villages in order to donate a bike to each one.

“It will be a tough challenge as the 10th village we visit could be up to 12 days’ ride away from our starting point, but I’m sure it will be rewarding, too. The bikes will be going to communities that really need help, and I feel privileged to be in a position to offer support,” added Vanner.

When asked why he chose to get involved with the project, Vanner said: “When my two brothers died six years ago, I relied on a lot of support from friends and family, and it showed me we all need help sometimes – no matter what our circumstances. This is my way of giving to people who need my help, and thanking those who helped me.”

In order to take part in the event in November, each participant must raise at least £4,500 in sponsorship, which is used to buy the bikes in the U.K., maintain them once delivered, and train villagers to safely use them. Having already donated the first £500 from his own pocket, Vanner has now organised a raffle at his tyre depot to help boost the fund-raising pot.

Vanner has teamed up with a host of generous local and national companies to offer a range of prizes, including a set of top-of-the-range tyres, and tickets to a Kent County Cricket Club match. Visitors to the store who buy tickets will also receive the added benefit of a money-off voucher for their next tyre purchase.

The First Stop outlet is part of Bridgestone UK’s network of independent dealerships, and the tyre company is supporting the event by donating exclusive Formula One memorabilia and merchandise to the raffle. Business development manager Chris Hawkins said: “Paul is doing a very noble thing, which will tax him physically, mentally, and financially, and he’s doing it willingly and with a smile on his face.

“Riding an off-road motorbike for 12 days would be hard work in any conditions, but to do it in the heat of Africa will be very tough. We will be supporting Paul throughout the fund-raising, and following his progress on the expedition with great interest,” added Hawkins.

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