The driving force behind North Devon’s annual August bank holiday Mini rally has been named as a regional winner in this year’s Pride of Britain Awards.
Terry Baker has been raising money and smiles for charity for nearly a quarter of a century – including around half-a-million-pounds for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).
He was featured as one of four shortlisted Fundraiser of the Year finalists on ITV Westcountry this week but announced as the regional winner on tonight’s (Friday) show.
Terry and wife Linda will now head to an awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House in London later this month, to be screened on ITV in November.
Choking back tears after being presented with his regional award at Little Bridge House in Fremington, Terry, aged 66, said he was proud his Legendary Grand Tours (LGT) had been recognised after nearly 25 years.
“I just bring the cars together and it works so well,” he said.
“I may organise the event but there is no way I could put it on without some very special help and they are my crew members and bike marshals, past and present, who are always out there in all types of weather.
“They have never let me down,” added Terry, who ran a Mini business in Clovelly Road, Bideford, for 25 years, before beginning his fundraising adventure.
Terry’s Mini rallies take months of planning, usually starting in January and cranking through the gears until the end of August, when thousands of people line the streets to see 250 ‘small cars with big hearts’ weave their way around North Devon’s villages in a 10-mile-long carnival-style convoy.
The events have helped CHSW provide vital respite breaks, end of life and palliative care, and support for families through bereavement and beyond at its hospices in Devon, North Somerset and Cornwall.
Over the years, the LGTs have helped the charity buy three mini busses and provide messy play areas at its Little Bridge House, Charlton Farm and Little Harbour hospices.
The rallies have also helped fund the creation of the Narnia garden, the construction of Toad Hall and the refurbishment of the jacuzzi at Little Bridge House. This year’s rally, number 23 to date, will help pay for a member of the siblings team.
Terry, who now lives in Washford, Somerset, said: “I do it because the people here are very special – their love, their compassion, you just can’t beat it.
“We learned from the very beginning that this is one very special place.”
Linda, Terry’s wife of 43 years, said: I’m overjoyed, it’s so well deserved and I am so proud of him, he works so hard.”