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Triumphant Bexley fire fighters return from Monte Carlo challenge

PUBLISHED: 18:00 20 June 2014

Mark Edwards, Lee Burnet, Simon and Caroline Harvey with their children Max and Maia and Maia's grandparents Pat and Elda Dew and Tony and Terry Harvey.

Mark Edwards, Lee Burnet, Simon and Caroline Harvey with their children Max and Maia and Maia's grandparents Pat and Elda Dew and Tony and Terry Harvey.

Archant

A group of three fire fighters have returned from a journey that saw them travel 2,000 miles to Monte Carlo and back in five days.

Alfie Edwards and Maia in the car.Alfie Edwards and Maia in the car.

Mark Edwards, Lee Burnett and Pete Cochrane, of Erith Fire Station, began their challenge on June 5 and finished in second place.

They undertook the journey to raise money for their colleague’s young daughter Maia Harvey, 15, who suffers from a rare and life limiting disease called leukodystrophy.

They money raised will be split between the Harvey family and Demelza Hospice Care for Children, where Maia receives respite care.

The team travelled in a car that they had purchased for just £200 and transformed from a clapped out Ford Mondeo into a special fire car named Balina and joined 80 other teams in the Monte Carlo or Bust style challenge.

Mark said: “It was an incredible trip and a lot of fun.

“We were so happy that Balina made it all the way to Monte Carlo. When we arrived we parked up next to a Ferrari outside the casino and people were taking pictures, even the concierge came out and asked if he could take one, it was crazy!”

The trio journeyed from Bexleyheath to Dover and then got a ferry to Calais, travelling on to Namur in Belgium where the race began.

Over the three days that followed they travelled 1,500 miles through, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, arriving in Monte Carlo on the evening of June 8.

Although the original plan was for the car to be crushed after they arrived in Monte Carlo, at the last minute a sponsor kindly stepped in and paid the extra money needed for them to drive the car back home.

Lee said: “We’re really grateful to Nightingale Consultants for sponsoring the trip home.

“At one point we didn’t think Balina would make it as we had a lot of trouble with oil, but she pulled through and we are chuffed that we’ll be able to reunite the car with Maia.”

Balina made it over the Alps, even overtaking a Ferrari on the streets of Monte Carlo.

The car is due to be at the Glenmore Arms, Edison Grove, Welling, this Saturday at a family fun day taking place from 3pm to 6pm.

The event will include a free bouncy castle, face painting and a magician for children, as well as karaoke later in the evening.

Guests are asked to make a charity donation to the Monte Carlo 4 Maia fundraisers.

Pete said: “We really hope people will come along and enjoy the day and donate some money to help Maia and Demelza.”

To see all of the pictures from the trio’s adventure, visit montecarlo4maia.weebly.com, where there will also be information about how to make a donation.

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