Ellesmere Port Soldier travels back to the 90s in 1,500 mile charity tour of Scotland


Soldier, Roy Hartley, from Ellesmere Port, is going back to the 90s, as he and a group of friends tackle a unique 1,500-mile drive to and from Scotland, all to raise money for charity.

Roy (29), and his old school friends, Dean, Cal and Ryan, took to the streets earlier this month and travelled in two cars from Ellesmere Port to Inverness, along the North Coast and back, all without the luxury of today’s technology.

The aptly named, 90’s Grand Tour started on 8th August, with the group completing it in five days and raising over £400 for charity in the process.

As well as testing their navigation and wild camping skills, the group were raising money for bereaved Forces children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers. A charity that supports hundreds of children up and down the country who have lost a parent while serving in the Armed Forces.

As a father, Roy, who serves in the 17 Port & Maritime, RLC, was touched when he first heard about the charity and the support it provides. He said: “My wife introduced me to Scotty’s and straight away it hit a cord. I have a three-year-old and I know that Scotty’s supports many children of a similar age, as well as babies and young people, right up to the age of 25. I told the boys about it and straight away they all agreed that Scotty’s should be the charity we support.”

Inspired by the TV show, The Grand Tour, the group embarked on a unique 1,500-mile drive which took them to Inverness and across 500 miles of the North Coast.

The group set themselves a series of challenges along the way, keeping to the 90s theme. These included, only travelling in a car worth less than £500, no use of GPS navigation and no mobile phone use, except to take photos.

The group also set up for wild camp every night, and set themselves silly challenges to keep them entertained, including a drag race, and a scavenger hunt to find as many souvenirs in Inverness as possible for £20.

Commenting on the challenge, Roy said: “We wanted to do something for charity that was fun but would raise money, and with all four of us growing up in the 90s we decided to do something that took us back to that time. Technology today has taken over and taken away the difficult strains of a road trip. You can now drive anywhere with GPS and Google Maps, so we decided to take it back and get rid of all the technology.

Having served in the military, me and one of the other boys in the group were familiar with wild camping, but for the other two, we knew this would really test them. It was great fun to do and I’m so please we raised as much as we did for Scotty’s Little Soldiers.”

Scotty’s Little Soldiers was founded by war widow Nikki Scott in 2010 after her husband, Corporal Lee Scott was killed in Afghanistan the previous year, leaving behind two young children. The charity supports its members in many ways, including providing access to the very best health and wellbeing care, offering educational support, and delivering outstanding development opportunities through a range of activity and educational grants. Scotty’s helps put smiles back on those brave faces by providing respite breaks, posting the children birthday and Christmas presents, and remembering the anniversary of their parent’s death, as well as arranging events where bereaved Forces children from all over the UK come together to have a great time and form friendships with kids in the same situation. 

In recent months, the charity has had to adapt to the current climate and has been using modern technology to arrange exciting virtual events and activities to engage with its members, ensuring them that in uncertain times such as these, they are not alone. Scotty’s has also been providing a high volume of wellbeing support to families who are suffering from enhanced anxiety and other problems due to the current health crisis.

Nikki said: “I love this challenge, what a different way to raise money. It sounds like Roy and his friends had a great time doing it. We’re extremely grateful to all four of them for choosing to raise money for Scotty’s Little Soldiers. The last few months have been challenging and now more than ever we need people like Roy to help us raise vital funds to enable us to continue to deliver a high level of support to bereaved Forces children when they need it the most.”

To support the 90s Grand Tour visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/scotland500june2020

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