Yate dad aims to help change law after 'life-changing' experience on rally
A LIFE-changing 2,000-mile car rally has spurred a Yate dad to take more action raising awareness of male suicide and its causes.
Father-of-two David Champion now hopes to work on a campaign to change the law over debt collection to combat the effect it can have on desperate people.
David took part in the rally from Cornwall to Pompeii to raise awareness of male suicide and raise money for charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), which runs a support helpline and webchat facility for men in crisis.
As reported in last month's Voice, the 40-year-old signed up with friends Jaimie Shore and Viv Potter in memory of Jaimie’s dad, Pete, who took his own life when they were teenagers. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45.
The team spent five days on the road in their 1991 Volvo 1.6 S40 which was decorated like a NASCAR racer in the spirit of the racing comedy Talladega Nights, with the team dressed up as characters from the movie. Over 400 people took part in the charity rally, the majority in fancy dress, driving in 150 cars.
Rally organisers set challenges every day for participants which often involved visiting cultural tourist attractions.
David said: “In Florence there were lots of American tourists and people were shouting out all the catch phrases from the film – coming up to us and asking for photos. Fancy dress gets people excited.”
The trip wasn’t without its challenges, including a ferry crossing from in gale force 10 winds and an unintended diversion by satnav which saw the team end up two hours away from Pompeii on the wrong side of the Italian coast facing a drive through a thunderstorm.
But the team's Volvo did well enough to make the journey home, despite the wheel bearings rattling as it drove Mount Vesuvius.
David says there was a great connection between those who took part.
He said: “It’s life changing. I would like to think that I was already a good person, and that things we did were good anyway, but it makes you realise that there’s a lot of good people out there.”
David now hopes to work with his employer, Nationwide, on a campaign to change legislation over debt collection. The law dictates how letters must be written to people who are often in desperate circumstances, and in some cases such letters have led to people taking their own lives. David believes they should offer more help and support.
David’s team have raised more than £4,000 so far via their fundraising page and through offline donations, smashing their online target of £2,500 before they had left the UK. Money is still coming in and donations can be made online here.