Driving schools are going ‘dotty’ for Children in Need

Caroline Johnston and Anne McKay from Caroline's School of Motoring.  INCT 38-731-CON
Caroline Johnston and Anne McKay from Caroline's School of Motoring. INCT 38-731-CON

Two east Antrim driving schools are going “dotty” in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for this year’s Children in Need.

The Big Learner Relay (BLR) is just one of the fundraising initiatives taking place as part of the annual charity campaign.

A learner car goes dotty for the cause. INCT 38-732-CON

A learner car goes dotty for the cause. INCT 38-732-CON

The event will kick off on November 1 at Belfast Castle, with the BLR Pudsey top box transported from one driving school car to the next over the 15 day event.

The first leg will follow a route from Belfast to Carrick and then Larne, following on to Crumlin, Sprucefield, Ballynahinch, Clough, Saintfield, Comber and Bangor.

Organisers will then fly to Aberdeen for the second leg through Scotland.

The relay will cover 3000 miles worth of driving lessons across the UK, ending with a grand finale on November 17 at Knowsley Safari Park, Liverpool.

Driving schools across the UK have been asking local people and businesses to sponsor a dot on their learner cars as part of the novel fundraiser.

Greenisland-based Caroline’s School of Motoring and Best Driving School in Larne, owned by Caroline Johnston and Yvonne Best respectively, are just two of the 10 schools across Northern Ireland who will be “lead” cars in the relay.

They got involved after seeing the opportunity advertised on Facebook.

Both instructors are hoping the “dotty” cars will prove an eye-catching way of boosting their fundraising efforts.

“The target for Northern Ireland is around £5000 but hopefully we’ll raise even more than that,” Caroline said.

Dozens of local businesses have already pledged their support by sponsoring a dot, while others have donated vouchers for a raffle.

“We’ll be doing other things to raise money as well - for example one pupil will be sponsored to do a lesson in her pyjamas,” added Yvonne.

Meanwhile, Pudsey will be putting in a special appearance at Larne ASDA on the morning of November 1 to oversee the handover of the relay top box.

Other driving schools are also being invited to join in on the day to form a convoy with the lead cars.

2017 will be the fourth year of the Big Learner Relay, which has raised over £250,000 for Children in Need so far.

It is hoped that next year, even more driving schools in Northern Ireland will take part, allowing the relay to expand into the east of the province.

For more information or to support the initiative, visit Big Learner Relay NI 2017 on Facebook or the JustGiving page here.