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Widower's 4,000 mile fundraising trip around Europe
A Kings Langley widower is in the middle of the journey of a lifetime, driving a classic car around Europe to raise money for charities which supported his wife through her cancer treatment.
Keith Clements, 65, is undertaking the 4,000 mile journey with companion Scott Renner, who flew in from California especially. Their plan is to visit 11 capital cities in 18 days.
The duo are seeking to raise money for the Mount Vernon Marie Curie Research Wing Trust and The Hospice of St Francis – two organisations which supported Keith’s wife Jenny in the months before her death from throat cancer last December.
They are doing the drive in an award-winning 60-year-old Jowett Jupiter lovingly restored by Keith, his daughter Amy and her husband Jack Moon.
Scott said: "When the chance came up to see most of Europe in one go, I had to get involved.
"I had heard about Keith's trip through the Jowett Car Club and what better way to celebrate the car's 60th birthday than to show the rest of Europe what British engineering is all about.
"Inevitably travelling such a huge distance in a 1950s car means there will be some maintenance along the way, but unexpected stops can often lead to the most interesting and enjoyable experiences."
The route takes them from London to Brussels, The Hague, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Berlin, Bonn and Luxembourg.
Since leaving on August 21 they have already had to deal with Scott losing his credit card before reaching Dover and also managed to find themselves in an Eastern European prison after securing special dispensation for a visit.
Although this is not the first rally the Jupiter has been a part of, it is the first time it is being used alone, without any support vehicles.
The British-built car is one of only 900 ever manufactured and has been on the road since Keith bought it in 1966. In the weeks before departure, the family were a flurry of activity replacing parts and getting it up to scratch.
Mr Moon said: "The car itself, historically, used to do international rallies. Keith and his daughter have done a few rallies and he used to do the Lands End to John O’Groats, but in recent years he hasn’t done much because his wife was so ill.
"He decided he wanted to give something back and we couldn’t think of that many ways of raising a large amount of money other than a driving challenge.
"It is also 60 years since the car rolled off the production line so it’s a bit of a coincidence but it felt right to do it."
He added that both the charities they are raising money for meant a lot to the family after the support they had been given.
"She [Jenny] was in St Francis quite frequently for a couple of days at a time, it was a big deal for us as it meant we could take a few days off," he said.
"It could be as simple as meaning he could go out to the pub for a drink but it made a huge difference."
To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/Keith-Clements.