A GRANDMOTHER is preparing herself to rally across Europe in tribute to war heroes killed in Afghanistan.
Portchester petrolhead Cheryl Spencer, 54, has been racing rally cars for almost a decade.
But this summer the grandmother-of-13 will be tackling the biggest ride of her life – the Rally for Heroes for forces charity SSAFA.
The biennial event will see about 50 cars travel five miles for every British serviceman and woman who have died in the war in Afghanistan.
Cheryl, of Lansdowne Avenue, will be attempting the 3,000-mile route with her husband, Barry in the couple’s limited edition Subaru Impreza P1.
She explained she wanted to do everything she could to honour the memory of those killed in Afghanistan.
‘This is our way of giving something back. We can never replace the lives that’ve been lost but at least we can make it worthwhile,’ she said,
The nine-day event launches from Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard on August 5.
It will see fundraisers racing across mainland Europe, travelling through Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain and France.
This year’s expedition aims to raise £100,000 for SSAFA which helps veterans and forces families.
Founded in 2010, the race has already raised more than £250,000 for charities such as SSAFA, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
‘This is just going to be mind-blowing,’ said the self-confessed car addict.
‘Everyone thinks I’m mad with the things I do.
‘But I just want to do something to make my children proud of me.’
She added: ‘The biggest thing for me is where am I going to put all my clothes?.’
To kick-start her effort, Cheryl joined the Spinnaker Supercars’ event on Saturday, which saw around 90 vehicles of a combined value of £10m converge on Gunwharf Quays and the Historic Dockyard.
Cars included Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Aston Martins and the Cheryl’s prized Subaru, and hundreds of people donated a total of around £13,000 to SSAFA.
The day also saw 48 brave souls abseiling down Portsmouth’s iconic Emirates Spinnaker Tower for SSAFA.
Cheryl will be paying £2,000 to join the Rally for Heroes.
She hopes to then raise £1,500 for charity. To help her, see www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search, ‘Cheryl Spencer’.
A total of 453 men and women died during the war in Afghanistan with a further 615 suffering serious injuries.