Early on Thursday 15th September 2016, 37 cars and 124 people set off for Dover to start the VADO RALLY 2016. They had come from Dundee in Scotland, Newport in Wales and across England to do one thing – raise money for the industry charity, the RAINY DAY TRUST.  

Teams of up to 4 people from across the builders’ and plumbers’ merchant sectors were invited to take part in a banger rally, buying a car for less than £500, driving down through 8 countries to Monte Carlo, before moving onto Nice for an awards dinner. The Rally took place over 4 days and covered 1,300 miles. Each team was set a target of raising £1,000 for the RAINY DAY TRUST, and a trophy would be awarded to the team that raised the most. To make things a little more interesting, the Rally was done in fancy dress with different themes each day, and challenges were set for each team to complete during the day.  

VADO, who supply our high quality bathroom taps, asked our Managing Director, Mark Chadwick, to enter a team along with our supply partner Premier Contract Supplies Ltd.

Day 1 was a drive from the start point in Namur in Belgium, through Luxembourg to Metz, then on through Strasbourg to the second night in Freiburg, Germany. The first day’s challenges were to provide photographic evidence of tasks completed; arm wrestling a complete stranger, wearing one green shoe, making – and wearing – a swimming costume made from a carrier bag, having a stranger play a musical instrument in your car, or finding and being photographed with a bronze crocodile! The teams all had free reign for their fancy dress theme which resulted in pirates, Top Gun, pop singers and ballet dancers in tutus – and that was just the men!

Day 2 jumped off from Freiburg, teams dressed to an Oktoberfest theme, and headed south through Switzerland and the Gotthard Pass to Como. Several cars stopped off at the Verzasca Dam for some of the teams to do a bungee jump on the dam filmed in the Bond film Goldeneye.  The challenges on the second day centred on collecting items; a postcard showing a goat, an Audi brochure, a receipt for as many items as possible costing less than €1 in total and an American quarter amongst others! For the drive itself, the Furka and Gotthard Passes proved a challenge in their own right, and one car turned back to find an easier route having blown its radiator. 

Day 3 was a straight drive from Como to Monte Carlo with a Christmas fancy dress theme, stopping off at Vado Ligure to be photographed next to the road sign. Santa costumes in cars with dodgy aircon and 25 degree heat made things a bit uncomfortable. But driving along the coast road with the most spectacular scenery was a fitting end to an amazing rally. The locals in Monte Carlo were a little confused by the spectacle of 37 cars and people in fancy dress driving passed their Casino. Not really a place to linger at €33 for two beers, the teams headed out of town to Nice for the night’s celebrations. Amazingly, all 37 cars completed the rally intact, though one failed right outside the hotel and had to be scrapped. 

The event was a huge success in every sense, organisationally, socially and from a fundraising perspective. While some funds are yet to be received, the rally is expected to have raised in excess of £65,000 which is incredible for the Rainy Day Trust. The money raised will be invaluable in helping people from our industry who are struggling.


To find out more about the Rainy Day Trust, or to make a donation: