Chester trio plan black cab adventure in the Alps

Published date: 09 April 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A priest, a scientist and a surgeon will be taking a taxi trip with a difference this summer as they set off on an alpine adventure in an iconic black cab.

The former rector at St Mary’s, Handbridge, Rev Chris Samuels, will be joined by friends, consultant microbiologist Philip Mannion and retired consultant orthopaedic surgeon David Campbell, both from Chester.

The intrepid trio are joining the three-day Thundercrawl Banger Rally in July where participants are challenged to take on the 1,400-mile endurance drive in a car over 15 years old and costing no more than £200! Eighty cars will be taking part.

The Chester team in a vintage Fairway Driver taxi is aiming to raise £20,000 on behalf of the Children in Distress charity to help extend its much-needed children’s hospice in Bucharest.

Since 1990, the charity is dedicated to supporting ‘Europe’s forgotten children’ in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, including the sick, those with HIV/AIDS, the physically handicapped and those who face a daily challenge for life as result of accident, infection and birth defects.

Chris Samuels, who is the chairman of Children in Distress trustees, said: “The charity does a remarkable job in supporting the poorest and long-suffering children in this part of Europe who face immense hardship and poverty.

“The Thundercrawl rally seemed a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of their plight and hopefully inspire businesses and individuals from the Cheshire area to contribute or support us by sponsoring the taxi.”

It was Mr Samuels who succeeded in finding and buying the retired cab for just £1 and then getting it roadworthy.

He added: “What better vehicle to travel across the Alps in than the trusty black cab?”

Themed on the films of James Bond, the banger rally will start at Reims, pass through France and Switzerland, and on to Venice, the final location from the film Casino Royale.

The route will follow several of the most famous Bond film settings including Blofeld’s mountain lair from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the dam where Bond performs one of the world's highest bungee jumps in Goldeneye, and the mountain passes where Goldfinger is chased in the famous Aston Martin DB5.

Co-driver David Campbell said: “It’s a long way to travel in three days, especially in a worn-out 1995 cab that’s done 311,000 miles and seen better days but I’m hoping we’ll make the finish line and raise some much needed cash for a great cause.”

Fundraising has been given a boost with a £500 donation from the Rotary Club of Chester.

The team has produced collection boxes and taxi key rings.

Anyone wishing to support the scheme can contact Chris on 01244 297490 or visit

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