Solar powered vehicles help raise funds for disabled charities

  • Six charity teams will drive from London to Bath in solar powered vehicles next month to raise money for disabled charities including The Injured Jockeys Fund and Riding for the Disabled.

    On Wednesday 21 May the six teams will be setting off on the SolaRola adventure — a seven-day journey in solar powered vehicles.

    The SolaRola vehicles will be running for The Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF), Riding for the Disabled, the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, Help for Heroes, The Calvert Trust and Dorset and Somerset Ambulance.

    The event has been organised by Annie Maw, high sheriff of Somerset, who is a paraplegic following a riding accident in 2002.

    Mrs Maw said: “Since the accident, in which I broke my back, I have been confined to a wheelchair. Amongst other features of this new life, I am disconcerted to find my dependency on electricity has increased dramatically.

    “My own personal contribution to finding a solution to this is into the search for more sustainable energy sources for the generation of electricity for transport. I am doing this by exploring the use of solar power to drive an electric buggy suitable for those with limited mobility, the SolaRola.

    “To draw attention to this and to provide something of a flagship, I, and a group of friends and supporters, have arranged for a cavalcade of SolaRolas to travel from London to Shepton Mallet in time for the annual Royal Bath and West Show.

    “Just for fun, as well as to demonstrate the effectiveness and speed that it is possible to provide using solar energy, we will hold gymkhana events using SolaRolas ridden by the show’s equestrian stars, willing local celebrities and, in an Olympic year, even Somerset Para Olympians.”

    The teams will be departing from Victoria Tower Gardens, London on Wednesday 21 May and will make their way to the Royal Bath and West Showground where they will finish in the parade ring on Wednesday 28 May.

    IJF beneficiaries former jockeys Lee Davies and JP McNamara are hoping to share some of the driving of the IJF vehicle on the week-long journey.

    Once at the show the solar powered wheelchairs will take part in a celebrity solar wheelchair gymkhana at which Mrs Maw will present the Annie Maw high sheriffs cup.

    It is hoped that each team will earn more than £10,000 for their charity.

    Anyone wishing to donate may directly support the team of their own preferred charity or the project as a whole where donations will be equally divided between all six charities.

    For more information visit: www.solarolaadventure.co.uk

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