2,500-mile drive in memory of mum

Gazette: Carolina Bailey with son Oscar, ten, and boyfriend Andrew Cullington, are driving across Europe to raise money in memory of her late mum, Marie Carolina Bailey with son Oscar, ten, and boyfriend Andrew Cullington, are driving across Europe to raise money in memory of her late mum, Marie

AN amateur mechanic is driving a classic car 2,500 miles across Europe in memory of her mum.

Carolina Bailey hopes to raise cash and awareness for the Mind charity by taking her Fiat 126 from her New Town home to Slovakia and back.

Accompanied by son Oscar, ten, the web officer from Essex University’s Business School hopes to drive through 12 countries on her journey to a world rally in Hokovce of the classic car.

So far Carolina has raised more than £400 for Mind, a charity she chose after her mum Marie took her own life in January after suffering with Personality Disorder.

Carolina, 38, said: “I had always planning going but it got cancelled last year and then mum died in January.

"A friend suggested I do it for charity. It has turned into something much bigger.

“Mum was diagnosed quite late in life and it is untreatable, unlike both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia which it falls between.

"The term itself, personality disorder, is quite derogatory and suggests there’s something wrong with your personality.

“But she was not just that. She was an Essex University alumnus, was creative and intelligent.

"She found it hard to communicate with people who would get upset and think she was being rude but it was her mental health condition.

“When she had physical problems associated with ageing and was not getting a lot of support, she decided to take her own life with a drug overdose.

“I had heard of Mind but did not know much about it but one day I used a support helpline which was really helpful and I discovered it was funded by the charity.

“There is little awareness about the work they do and if mum had known more she could have got more help.

"I want to raise awareness for people who don’t know where to turn in the hope they don’t suffer as much and their families too.”

Carolina’s boyfriend Andrew will follow her on the rally with a transit van full of spare parts.

Carolina said: “My son is excited but I think he would be happier if the car was working at the moment. I am terrified about it.

“I trained as a mechanic in my youth but didn’t like the cold so moved into IT and it is now just a hobby.

"But the Fiat 126 is a very simple car and easy to fix. It’s top speed is only about 60mph so it will be a slow journey and doing the Alps on the way home will be scary.”

The team sets off on June 23.

To find out more about their planned route visit facebook.com/126toSlovakia or to donate go to justgiving.com/Carolina-Bailey

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