Remember the Iron Lung Man – well Roger Frank is back!
Roger is the creator behind the iron lung replica which has been wheeled around the country to teach a new generation about polio.
Now he and his teammates Arthur Littlefair, John Taylor and Alan McViety are one of over 50 teams with their keys in the ignition who are raring to go for the Purple4Polio Rotary Grand Tour.
The aim will be to visit as many Rotary checkpoints, at places of interest around the UK, as possible to raise money for the End Polio Now campaign.
Roger and the team have converted a timed-out transit tipper truck into a natty, nippy contraption dubbed Mr Dumpy.
“It has had a hard life with over 200,000 miles on the clock,” explained Roger. “It’s a real banger. The aim is to turn it into an old-fashioned arched-back garbage truck, hence the name Mr Dumpy and the slogan: sending polio to the dump!”
The road trip is the brainchild of Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland President Denis Spiller whose team will not only be visiting the checkpoints, but each evening they plan to invade a Rotary club to spread the word before all the other cars end up in Yorkshire for the finish line party on May 24th at Halifax Minster.
“My Beetle has already done 12,000 miles since July, so let’s hope it has another few thousand in it before the end of the year,” said Denis. “The German engineering, built in Mexico, is doing pretty well so far!”
I’ve also added flashing indicators since nobody looks for hand signals these days!”
The original challenge was to get hold of an old banger, but interest has expanded with entries coming in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a classic Mini, a Triumph Spitfire, a 1990s motorhome and even an AJS 9 from 1931!
Peter Bramwell, proud owner of the AJS 9, has had to make a few modifications to the 87 year old vehicle to make sure it’s up to the test of modern roads.
“Common in many cars from that period is that the pedals are in a different order to modern cars, with the brake where the accelerator should be and the accelerator where the brake should be.”
“This isn’t quite as dangerous as it sounds since pressing either pedal doesn’t have much effect. I’ve also added flashing indicators since nobody looks for hand signals these days!”
As well as showing off their wheels, teams have also had chance to get creative with their names, and entering will be the ‘Denby Dale Dragsters’, the ‘Bangor Banger’ and that classic road trip question ‘Are We There Yet?’
Checkpoints include Brands Hatch GP Circuit in Kent, Brooklands in Surrey, and the Great Orme in Wales.
Good luck to all the teams taking part. You can follow their progress by searching #RotaryGrandTour on Twitter.