The Legendary Grand Tour of more than 200 Minis will be passing through numerous North Devon towns and villages this August bank holiday weekend

The Legendary Grand Tour mini run in Bideford on Monday. Pictures: GRAHAM HOBBSThe Legendary Grand Tour mini run in Bideford on Monday. Pictures: GRAHAM HOBBS

Thousands of people will turn out this August bank holiday to line the streets and cheer on the mighty Minis as they return for the Legendary Grand Tour 2017.

From Saturday to Monday hundreds of little cars with huge personalities will be making their way around the highways and byways of North Devon to raise money for Children's Hospice South West.

It is a great spectacle, as more than 240 of the little cars pass by with many a 'beep beep' and 'honk honk', festooned with decorations and their drivers and passengers in fancy dress.

From humble beginnings, it is now in its 22nd year and organisers are fervently hoping to push their fantastic fundraising efforts over the half-a-million-pound mark.

Terry Baker is hoping to hit the £500,000 mark before his 65th birthday. Picture: Sarah HowellsTerry Baker is hoping to hit the £500,000 mark before his 65th birthday. Picture: Sarah Howells

Founder Terry Baker said: "This year is special because it will mark an incredible milestone for us, as we will be driving towards our first £500,000 mark.

"Never in our wildest dreams did we ever believe that we could raise and give away half-a-million-pounds, and with most of it now going to Children's Hospice South West.

"This year, the event will be one of the biggest we have taken out for many years, as we already have 240 assorted Minis booked in and had to turn many more away."

The Minis make their way through Combe Martin during the Legendary Grand Tour 2016. Picture: Tony GussinThe Minis make their way through Combe Martin during the Legendary Grand Tour 2016. Picture: Tony Gussin

Success for hospice

Terry said this year the hospice had asked them to fund a new specially adapted Peugeot Boxer van for Little Harbour Hospice in Cornwall - which means the Minis will have paid for a vehicle at all three CHSW sites, except Little Bridge House in Fremington - which has had two.

The Grand Tour has also donated £130,000 to Charlton Farm at Bristol, £95,000 to Little Harbour and the rest to Little Bridge House.

The Minis make their way through Combe Martin during the Legendary Grand Tour 2016. Picture: Tony GussinThe Minis make their way through Combe Martin during the Legendary Grand Tour 2016. Picture: Tony Gussin

The fun begins with a free family Mini Show at the Big Sheep near Bideford. It is open to all Minis and free to view, with Mini drivers receiving free entry to the attraction and their passengers get in for half price. There will be prizes for the best-dressed cars.

That evening there will be a Saturday Night Cruise to Appledore, open to all Mini owners, meeting up at Northam Burrows car park at 5.30pm.

Sunday sees the Minis set off from Westward Ho! seafront at 11am for a tour to Hartland Quay and Dartington.

On Monday, the cars gather at Victoria Park in Bideford, with everyone welcome to come down and meet the crews and see the great fancy dress costumes, before the Minis set off at 11am for a tour that takes in numerous communities between Fremington and Ilfracombe.

The Legendary Grand Tour mini run in Bideford on Monday. Pictures: GRAHAM HOBBSThe Legendary Grand Tour mini run in Bideford on Monday. Pictures: GRAHAM HOBBS

Terry said: "If anyone thinks it's no more than a bunch of Minis driving around North Devon, then come out and see us on the Monday in Victoria Park, where the Mini owners will be in fancy dress and their Minis will be decorated.

Party in Victoria Park

Hundreds of minis normally flock around North Devon during August. Pic: Tony HowellsHundreds of minis normally flock around North Devon during August. Pic: Tony Howells

"The atmosphere in the park is unbelievable, especially when Bideford Youth Pipe Band begins playing, then to top it all, the motorbikes roar into life, a few minutes before the ribbon is cut."

The volunteer motorcycle marshals are invaluable to the Grand Tour and it couldn't go ahead without them - with many also dressed up as much as possible.

Terry concluded: "The Legendary Grand Tour is unique to North Devon and has always been self-supporting, and besides raising so much for charity over the past 20 years, it has brought untold wealth into the area and lots of joy to the thousands of people who watch it go past. Some of those spectators who watched it as children now watch it with their children.

"I have been asked what we are going to do when we reach the half-a-million-pound mark, well that is simple - start on the next half-million and pray it does not take so long, because I would like to be there when we do."

**** TOUR SCHEDULE ****

SATURDAY, AUGUST 26

10am Big Sheep Mini Show.

5.30pm The Saturday night cruise. Meet at the information centre on Northam Burrows, use the Sandymere Road entrance. NOT BEFORE 5.30pm, or they will charge you to get in, should be signposted.

6.30pm Depart the Burrows. Westward Ho! Northam, Appledore and Irsha Street.

7pm Arrive Big Sheep, free entry for fun in the Ewe-topia indoor play zone. The café will be open and the brewery. Closes 10pm.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 27

7.30am Westward Ho! promenade is open for parking.

10.15am Drivers' briefing.

10.45am Bideford Youth Pipe Band starts

11am Rock and Roll! We leave Westward Ho! Up Stanwell Hill to Abbotsham roundabout.

11.30am Arrive Hartland Quay.

1pm Depart Hartland Quay.

2pm Arrive Dartington Crystal.

3.30pm Depart Dartington for home going via the two big dippers.

MONDAY, AUGUST 28

7.30am Bideford Victoria Park Opens.

10.30am The Bideford Youth Pipe Band starts.

11am Rock and Roll we're off! Along the Quay and over the old bridge towards Instow.

11.40am Turn off the road by Fremington shops and through housing estate. Arrive at Little Bridge House.

12.05am Portmore golf course road, wait and regroup.

12.55pm Cross bridge over A361.

1.20pm Bratton Fleming.

1.30pm Blackmoor Gate.

1.45pm Barbrook.

1.55pm Lynton.

2pm Arrive Valley of the Rocks.

2.50pm Depart car park SHARP.

3.10pm Hunters Inn.

3.30pm Arrive Combe Martin.

4pm Arrive IIfracombe.

4.30pm Prize giving and raffle.