A new motoring world record has been set by a team of four supporting the Stroke Association charity. Phil Bilingham, from Wales, Shannon Currie, from England, Duncan Mackenzie, from Scotland and Gerry Mulligan, from Northern Ireland, successfully drove to 18 countries within 24 hours, managing to also stop for photographs at each stage to provide the required evidence for the world record.
The exploring quartet have been raising much-needed funds for a selection of three charities. In the process of setting the new world record, they’ve raised over £10,000 with more donations continuing to trickle in.
The countries the participants visited in an incredible record-breaking 24 hours include: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Germany, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland.
Phil Bilingham, the participant from Wales said, “A few friends and I set a world record of 12 countries in 24 hours back in 2001, but I knew I could do better. We’ve been planning this trip for quite a while. Luck was definitely on our side, with some quiet roads, clear border crossings and fine weather – we only made two navigational errors during the entire trip. We’re absolutely delighted to have reclaimed the record for the UK, but more importantly, we’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people who have donated to our chosen charities.”
Bilingham is currently still fundraising for the Stroke Association, with the other participants fundraising for charities such as the Tom Bowdidge Foundation and the Elsie Normington Foundation.
Inspired by his lifelong friend, Nick McCann, who had a stroke in March 2013, Bilingham said, “I’ve known Nick a long time. We were born within weeks and within miles of each other. Nick’s recovery since his stroke has been incredible. It’s been very touching to witness and I’ve seen how important it is for him to receive support like he has from the Stroke Association.”
Bridget Stadden from the Stroke Association stated, “We are so pleased that the Stroke Association has been chosen to be one of the charities to benefit from this spectacular challenge. We hope that the event will help us to raise awareness of Stroke as well as much needed funds to continue our work.”
There are currently 65,100 people living with the effects of stroke in Wales alone, and approximately 152,000 strokes a year in the UK – more than one every three and a half minutes.