Ladies Driving Challenge 2008
Dorset Ladies' Driving Challenge
Dorset ladies are being urged to ditch their stilettos for steering wheels and take part in a charity driving challenge, in anything from a milk float to a fire engine, at Bovington Army Camp.
Marie Curie Cancer Care is looking for 200 women to take part in their annual Ladies' Driving Challenge in Bovington.
Now in its 14th year the challenge is split in up to eight sections - steam engines, 4x4s, World War II vehicles, fire engines, police cars, HGV lorries, tractors and dumpers - and ladies can choose to drive one vehicle from each section.
All the vehicles and petrol are donated for free by local companies and come with their own drivers.
Although there is no formal tuition, the drivers provide hands-on training and debriefing for all challengers.
Woman aged 18 plus are eligible to take part and the oldest to date has been 88-years-old.
Julia Chapman is the Community Fundraising Manager Somerset & Dorset.
Getting to grips with a 4x4
She says: "It's so empowering for women.
"Working within the industries that use these types of vehicles is not the 'normal' job role for women.
"They're seen as male workplaces and it's so great that women can experience them at this event.
"I've driven all the vehicles and I love them all, they're such good fun - although the World War II ones have a double clutch [pressing and depressing the clutch for each shift out of, and then into each gear] which can be a bit tricky."
The Marie Curie Ladies' Driving Challenge runs on a circular track with no junctions.
Julia says: "There's no stop-starting so it's a pretty simple route and easy to drive around."
One hundred women are registered so far, but Julia is hoping that figure will rise to 200.
It is hoped that the event will raise £30,000 for terminally ill cancer patients in Dorset.
Julia says: "It's wonderful to know that all money raised will stay locally.
"It will help to buy nursing hours in the county for Marie Curie patients who are being cared for in their own homes for free.
"Nursing care costs £20 per hour, which on average works out at about £120 per night.
"Many patients are now choosing to stay in their own homes because they can die with dignity.
"The nurses are invaluable and even provide emotional support and advice for the patients' families."
The Marie Curie Ladies Driving Challenge takes place at Bovington Army Camp on Sunday 27 Sept 2009.
More information on the challenge can be found on the following website:
last updated: 08/07/2009 at 10:55