AN ADVENTUROUS couple from Chester have called on Mini owners to join them on an Italian road trip to help children living in poverty.

Alan (55) and his wife Colette Willoughby (61) have enlisted to join the company of 40 other teams embarking on an extraordinary award-winning 4000-mile road trip.

In October, they will participate as ‘Team 26’ in the iconic Italian Job fundraiser which draws inspiration from the 1969 film of the same name.

The road trip was recently crowned the prize of ‘Best Event’ in the 2024 National Car Club Awards.

Chester and District Standard: Alan and Colette will be returning for their second year on The Italian Job road trip.Alan and Colette will be returning for their second year on The Italian Job road trip. (Image: The Lyndon Agency)

This year Alan and Colette will be raising funds for disadvantaged children in Chester, and they hope their adventure will shine a light on the pressing issue of childhood poverty in the region while rallying support from community and local businesses in the region.  The couple will raise funds for Buttle UK, a designated charity committed to assisting families facing crises.

Inspired by the Michael Caine classic, the unique road trip welcomes Mini owners and vintage car enthusiasts, affectionately called 'Jobbers,' to traverse the wide range of breathtaking Italian landscapes, far from the touristy paths, while revisiting famous locations from the renowned movie.  

Chester and District Standard: The road trip takes in iconic settings from the 1969 film.The road trip takes in iconic settings from the 1969 film. (Image: The Lyndon Agency)

This year when leaving Rome, the convoy will make a memorable stop at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Here, participants will partake in a unique Italian Job Minis parade, both on the circuit and the iconic Sopraelevata old racing track.

Speaking about the fundraiser, Alan said: “When we became the proud owners of a dark grey Mini Equinox, we never intended for it to simply sit on our driveway. I scoured the internet in search of a driving event to participate in. Given my age, I vividly recall the film Cannonball Run and had something akin to that in mind.

“Eventually, I stumbled upon the Italian Job event. It seemed perfect! The website detailed the event's essence, and it appeared fantastic; the opportunity to drive around the iconic ‘Imola racing circuit’ was the cherry on top. The fact that we could partake in this adventure while also raising money for charity made it an obvious choice.”

The couple, who embarked on the same journey last year for the first time, remarked: “Our family thought we were crazy for planning to travel 3,000 miles in a nearly 30-year-old Mini. But we viewed it as an adventure, a chance to create lasting memories regardless of the outcome. Our youngest son was certain he'd have to tow us back home from Italy!

“However, there was no need to worry as our trusty Mini performed admirably, safely returning us after covering around 3,500 miles. We encourage other MINI owners in the area to join us on this adventure. Together, let's make a real impact in the lives of some of Chester's underprivileged children – let's offer them a genuine opportunity for a better future.”

“As newcomers to the Italian Job, we initially found ourselves strangers among the participants. However, once the main event commenced in Imola, we quickly bonded with our fellow 'Jobbers.' By the journey's end, we had forged strong friendships. The Italian Job offers an adventure wherein you encounter remarkable individuals, discover enchanting locales, and share laughter over our occasional navigational blunders (as depending on anything besides satellite navigation feels unfamiliar in this day and age).”

He added: “All the while, we are mindful that our journey is about more than just an adventure —it's about making a difference in the lives of children in crisis.  Living in poverty can affect a child’s outlook on life and potentially lead them into bad life choices and this gives them a potential path to a better future. Why wouldn’t you want to be part of this!”

Founded to support children in poverty in the UK, 'The Italian Job' driving adventure has already raised an impressive £3 million for charitable causes, all thanks to the dedication of its mother and son organizers, Giulia, and Freddie St George.

If you’d like to support Alan and Colette on their journey, you can donate via their JustGiving page at:

For more information on The Italian Job road trip reach out at or visit