Once again an adventurous group of people from across the home improvement sector came together in early September to take part in the Pavestone Rally 2017.  Following the now proven format of buying a banger for under £500 and then decorating it, the teams set off on a 4-day, 1,300 mile, 10 country adventure that demonstrated once again that they are all a fantastic bunch of people.


This year the 38 teams met in Dover at the National Trust car park before leaving to visit 9 countries on their way to Monte Carlo, then moving on to Nice for an awards dinner.  The Rally was organised and massively supported by Pavestone UK, and the proceeds for the Rally were to be split between the Rainy Day Trust and Teenage Cancer Trust.  Each team was set a target of £1,500 to be raised for the charities, and a trophy would be awarded to the team that raised the most. Amazingly, three teams raised over £10,000 each so we have commissioned two additional trophies to recognise their incredible efforts.  Each day the teams were given tasks to do while in fancy dress, with different themes each day.  Points were awarded for completing the tasks successfully, with bonus points liberally scattered about for imagination and ‘team spirit’.  The teams crossed the Channel by ferry dressed as doctors and nurses to the confusion of the regular ferry passengers!  The Rainy Day Trust entered a team to be part of this amazing event.


The drive from the start point in Dover was simple enough, but once docked at Calais, the cars split as they worked their way across Belgium to an industry lunch in Ghent.  They picked up the tasks again after lunch and headed down to Luxembourg for the first night stop.  The cars were running well and no-one got lost; always a good start!  The first day’s tasks included, among others, being photographed with a policeman, giving a piggy back to a stranger and seeing how many people you could squeeze into your car.  Apparently, it’s possible to get 12 people into a large Volvo.


Day 2 jumped off from Luxembourg, with teams dressed ‘freestyle’, and headed south through Switzerland on to Vaduz in Lichtenstein – the locals couldn’t quite believe that masses of various costumed people had descended on their small town.  The first problems with cars began to appear, but most were fixed quickly. Quite how so many teams managed to be photographed with their entire team on or in a fire engine, I’m not sure.


On Day 3 we left Vaduz, drove north a little, before swinging east for Imst and a 1.5km toboggan run – all to earn more points – dressed in an ‘ancient’ theme.  Having completed their toboggan runs, the cars headed south once again over the Stelvio Pass at 9,045ft above sea level.  The toll on the cars began to show as brakes and clutches suffered on over 60 hairpin bends both up and down.   At the top, we had to take a photograph of a team member making a snow angel; snow in early September wasn’t easy to find, but it was still there if you looked hard enough.  Challenges for the day included singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to a stranger, collecting something over 4ft long and wrapping a team member in toilet roll from head to foot; we chose our mascot toy tortoise “Tiberius” as we felt he was suitably ‘eco-friendly’! That night everyone arrived in Verona amid a huge thunderstorm accompanied by a deluge of rain.  Verona became a river!


Our final day was a simple 400 mile drive across to the Casino in Monte Carlo, then on to Nice for the final night and the awards dinner. At the front of the Casino, Ferrari seemed to be having a show, so the arrival of 38 bangers, liberally decorated – one as a Viking long ship complete with prow and mast! – drew some strange looks.


At the evening’s awards dinner Aaron Frogley from Pavestone presented the winner’s trophy to the BMF/First Event team with Chandlers Building Supplies in a very close second place.  Each team has been raising money for both the Rainy Day Trust and Teenage Cancer Trust and the Best Fundraising Team Trophy made by Steve Robinson Glass in St David’s went to the NBG Ninjas for raising over £17,000.  Second place went to Thomas Dudley with third place to Lawsons Building Supplies.  In all, the whole event has raised a staggering £153,000 and the money is still coming in.


As CEO of the Rainy Day Trust, once again what stood out for me was the strength of bond between the teams, the willingness to help other teams in distress and above all, have a great time. The event is certainly gathering momentum.


The Rally was a huge success in every sense: not only from a fundraising and organisational perspective, but socially too. While some funds are yet to be received, we expect to have raised in excess of £155,000 during the Rally which is incredible for the Charity and we look forward immensely to the next one.  The CEO, Chairman and Board of Trustees at the Rainy Day Trust want to publicly thank Aaron Frogley and Pavestone UK for the immense amount of time, energy and hard work that they put into the Rally.  The money raised will be invaluable in helping people from our industry who are struggling.


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