WHEN Duncan Willis made a replica of one of the Thunderbirds characters for the show’s creator, he had no idea it would end with him involved in a project to help raise £1m to fight breast cancer.
Duncan had made the Parker doll as a gift for Gerry Anderson shortly before Mr Anderson died of Alzheimer’s last year, and as a result, got to know his son Jamie.
Meanwhile Radio 2 breakfast show and The One Show host, Chris Evans, had been looking for a use for the personalised numberplate FAB1 he bought five years ago. The numberplate is the same as the one on Lady Penelope’s Rolls-Royce in the TV show.
Rolls-Royce, which is based at Goodwood, has donated the bespoke pink Rolls-Royce Ghost, similar to Lady Penelope’s, to the charity for the year-long fundraiser which aims to raise £1m.
Duncan, of Mollison Rise in Whiteley, said: ‘Jamie had an approach from Chris Evans’ people, asking if he was interested in promoting this.
‘When he mentioned it, I said that was a bizarre coincidence, as I had made a head for a Chris Evans doll after The One Show was thinking about doing something.
‘That never happened, but they jumped at the chance of using the Parker doll and I offered to make another of Chris Evans in the style of Parker.
‘Jamie fielded the idea to them and they loved it.
‘I’m told Chris is delighted with it, and the pictures I’ve seen all look very positive. I’m quite chuffed with it.’
Evans is launching the campaign on Thursday by driving from Land’s End to John O’Groats, with James May, Gary Barlow and Professor Brian Cox as his co-drivers.
After the 833-mile drive, the car will be the centrepiece of a window display in Harrods for a week and Duncan’s puppets will be in pride of place as part of the display.
Chris Evans said: ‘You can hire the most famous Rolls-Royce in the world as the icing on the cake to whatever special event you are attending or celebrating knowing that you are donating to a very worthy cause in the process.
‘It’s a win-win situation. So, if you can, do.’
The FAB1 car will be available to hire for £5,000 a day. There is also the chance of winning FAB1 for a day by donating £5 to Breast Cancer Care by texting FAB to 83222. For more information go to fab1million.co.uk