Northern Ireland

Demolition derby for GAWA Euro caravan?

The caravan has its own Facebook page and attracted international media attention at the Euros as it travelled around France
Image caption The caravan has its own Facebook page and attracted international media attention at the Euros as it travelled around France

A caravan from Northern Ireland which became a social media sensation at the European Football championships in France may soon be demolished.

The group of fans who towed it more than 2,000 miles around France in the summer say it is now beyond repair.

After a Christmas party in the vehicle over the festive period, they plan to get rid of it in the new year.

They offered it to a museum, but it was rejected, so they are now considering entering it into a demolition derby.

The 20-year-old Green And White Army (GAWA) caravan has its own Facebook page and attracted international media attention at the Euros as it travelled around France.

It went from Cherbourg in the north-west to the southern coastal city of Nice, before heading north again to Paris, via Lyon.

Image caption After a Christmas party in the vehicle, its owners plan to get rid of it in the new year

To save money, the fans tried to avoid toll roads so ended up driving almost 3,000 miles.

One of the supporters, Lee Brooks, said: "We offered it to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, but they didn't want it. They said it wasn't old enough for a museum.

"It's a pity because this caravan certainly has a bit of history to it."

'Never make it to Moscow'

The vehicle needed running repairs during the journey through France, especially after negotiating the twisting roads of the Alps.

On a number of occasions, the supporters considered abandoning it and using hotels. However, the caravan became a magnet for attention wherever they went so they stuck with it.

Image caption The vehicle needed running repairs during the journey through France, especially after negotiating the twisting roads of the Alps

One of the fans involved, Noel Cowan, said: "We had Austrians, Germans and Poles in the caravan with us at various times. We had a BBQ with them all.

"It was unreal - memories that we'll never forget."

The fans' plan had been to keep the caravan for the next two years in case Northern Ireland qualify for the World Cup in Russia, but they have now reluctantly accepted that will not be possible.

"It wouldn't even make it to the ferry at Larne, never mind Moscow," said Mr Cowan.

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