A LIFEBOAT volunteer will take part in a European fundraising road-trip to help two charities.

Dan Bellingham, who is a volunteer for Harwich RNLI, will start his journey on Wednesday, September 18 with his two work colleagues, Tom Raes and Grant Fryatt.

The three Essex Road Policing officers entered the Screwball Rally to raise funds for St Helena’s Hospice and Harwich RNLI.

They have decided to donate to these two charities because they are close to their hearts.

Mr. Bellingham, of Ramsey Road, in Dovercourt, said: “People don’t really realise how important Harwich RNLI really is.

“I think there should be more awareness about it.

“About 95% of the money they use on the missions is from donations.

“It is very important that people donate to Harwich RNLI, to keep the community safe.”

Harwich RNLI spent £165.3 million only to run in 2018.

A lifeboat costs £200,000 to buy, whereas the big one is £2 million.

The 39 year old, said: “I think that if you are able to live close enough, you should do something for the community.

“I also volunteer to show a good example for my children.

“It is really important for people, like us, to do events and to donate, every penny helps.”

The three travellers have raised almost £3000 so far on the GoFundME page.

They said: “We would like people to donate even more.

“The rally has a prize for the team who raises the most.

“The winners can return next year for free, and we would like to do so, to help Harwich RNLI and another charity.”

Each participant had to pay £225 to enter the rally.

They took days off work and paid about £2000 so far for purchasing the car and for other preparations.

The rally is self-funded, and all the money raised will be split evenly within the two charities.

The trio said they really appreciate the sponsors and the donations.

Police Mutual paid for their insurance, Winning smiles sponsored the servicing, while FunkeeFish did the wrapping.

Others who sponsor their cause include Pave N Save, Essex Marine Training, DayGleam LTD and Dents and Scuffs.

The car, which was unveiled at the Harwich Lifeboat Station, in the Quay, on Wednesday, September 4, is built after the model of the Severns lifeboat with a replica of the aerial on the roof of the car.

The rally will see the three men travel almost 1,300 miles through France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg in a 17-year-old BMW worth just £550.

The rules say the car can’t be worth more than £750, but the five-day long rally will see 80 cars participating.

Tom, Dan and Grant will tackle the Screwball Rally next week.

To donate, visit gofundme.com/screwball-rally-2019.