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Castle Custodian Aims to Tour Europe in a Hearse!

A member of the Raby castle staff team is hoping to complete a European rally in a hearse to boost funds for a life saving charity.

Alan McKerchar, custodian at Raby Castle, in Staindrop, Teesdale, will be teaming up with his son Ross, 22, to take part in the Fireball Rally next month. The pair will be driving their 1995 Ford Scorpio hearse from the castle through eight European countries over four days in a bid to raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

The pair will set off on September 6 before travelling through France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. While in Switzerland they will also complete a bungee jump from the Verzasca Dam, which stands at 220 metres and is the highest ground based bungee jump in the world. It was made famous after Pierce Brosnan jumped off it while playing James Bond in 1995 film Golden Eye.

The pair also plan to sleep in the hearse during the journey, stopping overnight in Switzerland, Italy and France. Talking about his somewhat ironic choice of vehicle, Mr McKerchar said: “I appreciate that it is a strange choice of vehicle to fund raise for a lifesaving charity but the novelty factor turns heads and so raises awareness of the charity.

 “I have been using the vehicle around the local area, so you may have seen it on the move with my golden retriever sitting in the back. I bought the vehicle specifically for this event and will sell it after, with any profit also going to the charity.”

He added: “I chose The Great North Air Ambulance as the work they do is vital for our rural communities where it can be difficult to get road ambulances to incidents quickly.

“At a time when the NHS services are stretched this volunteer service brings pioneering pre-hospital care directly to the scene of the accident, rescuing hundreds of severely injured or ill patients every year.

“The Great North Air Ambulance Service fly three air ambulance helicopters across the North-East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria and rely on the generosity of the public to survive.”

Alan, 50, has already raised £500 for the charity.

To donate visit or alternatively visitors to Raby Castle can make a donation to any member of staff.

All the staff at Raby wish Alan the best of luck with his fundraising adventure!

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