A 1,770-mile epic journey to support one of smallest churches in Leicestershire

Mervyn and Adam Jones, of Lutterworth, getting ready to drive from Dover to Turin for the Italian Job Mini-run in aid of St Mary's Church in Potters Marston.' (Picture by: Andrew Carpenter)
Mervyn and Adam Jones, of Lutterworth, getting ready to drive from Dover to Turin for the Italian Job Mini-run in aid of St Mary's Church in Potters Marston.' (Picture by: Andrew Carpenter)

A father-and-son team will be hitting the road next week to begin a 1,770-mile journey from Lutterworth to Turin for an Italian Job-themed tour to raise money for a good cause.

Mervyn Jones (63) and son Adam (25) will be embarking on the exciting trip in a 1997 Mini which was Adam’s first car back in 2007 when he was a 17-year-old.

It cost £500, had 85,000 miles on the clock and didn’t work.

But, fortunately, help was at hand from his experienced mechanic dad Mervyn, who had previously worked for a British Leyland garage in Ashby Parva, and he was able to get the Mini back on the road after a few tweaks.

Now, it has 115,000 miles on its ledger but has only broken down once in eight years.

The 1,600-mile trip officially starts from Dover but that’s before the pair will have driven the 170-mile distance from Lutterworth to the Kent coast.

And their sponsored journey will be raising money for St Mary’s Church in Potters Marston, near Stoney Stanton, one of the smallest churches in Leicestershire.

The duo will be among a group of 15 drivers, 11 in classic Minis , taking a ferry across to France before driving in five-car convoys through France, over the Alps, and into Italy before finally arriving in Turin – and stopping off to visit film locations from the 1969 crime caper movie along the way.

Scenes from the movie, such as the Fiat factory and the cliff-hanging scene will be among the sites visited.

Adam, an exploration geologist and whose girlfriend lives in Swinford, said: “My dad and I have always been fans of the movie.

“And, of course, I love my Mini, so it seemed an exciting challenge.”

It is not the first time the Joneses have attempted a challenging feat. When Adam was just a seven-year-old he joined his parents for a 600-mile bicycle ride in Canada from Vancouver to Calgary.

So are they certain Adam’s 18-year-old Mini will be up to the job?

“Dad’s given it a full service and we are fairly confident,” said Adam. “We are both just really looking forward to it now.”

The other genuine Minis involved in the tour – ‘no BMWs involved here!’ Adam explained proudly – will be coming from across the UK to converge on Dover for the experience.

And they will be painted in the red, white and blue colours, just like in the Michael Caine movie.

The Joneses have chosen to support St Mary’s because Mervyn has been the churchwarden there for many years.

“It’s a small and old church and they always need work over the years. It will be the quinquennial survey soon so it would be good to help pay for that,” said Mervyn.

They are hoping to raise about £1,000 and any sponsorship money would be gratefully received.

To support the trip, email bikingmerv@aol.com.