Hundreds of Minis were out in force in North Devon at the weekend, raising thousands of pounds for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).
Around 250 Minis took part in the 26th annual Legendary Grand Tour over the August Bank Holiday weekend, culminating in a noisy and colourful rally from Bideford’s Victoria Park on Monday.
Drivers and passengers, many of them and their Minis in fancy dress, headed out in convoy along the quay towards CHSW’s Little Bridge House children’s hospice in Fremington, and on to Barnstaple, Bratton Fleming, Lynton, Combe Martin and Ilfracombe.
All along the route, people lined the pavements with flags and bunting to wave them past and pop a few coins in the collection buckets carried by the motorcycle marshals that accompanied the Minis.
Previously, the Minis had taken their traditional Saturday evening cruise around Westward Ho!, Northam and Appledore, while on Sunday, they headed out from Westward Ho! to Hartland Quay and then to Dartington Crystal in Torrington for a cream tea.
Organiser Terry Baker said the event started in 1996 after he was asked if he’d bring his car to Little Bridge House to surprise a young Mini fan called Christopher, who was staying at the hospice for respite.
“I ended up taking Christopher for a ride around Bideford, Northam, Appledore and Westward Ho!,” said Terry.
It got noisier and noisier as we went because Christopher kept pressing the horn as we went round.
“When we met Christopher, we got to meet a lot of the carers and people who worked at the hospice and we suddenly realised just what a special place this is. From then on, we said we wanted to support the children’s hospice and everybody in the club all felt the same way.
"The Legendary Grand Tour has become Christopher’s legacy left to the Children’s Hospice South West and part of the tour weekend is the same route we took him on all those years ago – and it is just as noisy!”