The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is supporting four charity fundraisers as they set out on an ambitious journey across Europe in a former taxi with almost 200,000 miles on the clock.

Patrick Capelen, Daniel Bougourd, David Forrest and John Forrest have signed up to take part in Ramshackle Valencia Rally 2014, which will see them drive from Calais to Valencia. The main rule of the rally is that the car used must cost £250 or less.

As if that isn’t tough enough, the team has decided to start their challenge in the Isle of Man, meaning the full journey distance will be 2,000 miles.

The team, Vannin2Valencia, hopes to raise £2,000 for the charity Balls to Cancer, £1 for every mile of the journey. The Steam Packet Company is helping out by assisting the team with the cost of getting the car to England.

Patrick said: ‘The basic premise of the whole event is doing something “a bit different” for charity. One of the rules of the rally is that the car must be painted in a theme and we must wear accompanying fancy dress for the duration of the rally. The car we’ve purchased for £250 is a former private hire vehicle with nearly 200,000 miles on the clock and we’re turning it into Thunderbird 2, and will be wearing International Rescue fancy dress costumes!’

He added: ‘The reason we have chosen Balls to Cancer is because we don’t feel that there is currently enough awareness of “male-type cancers” and men, being men, tend not to talk about it. The idea of doing something a bit absurd or ridiculous like this rally is to try and encourage men to have the confidence to go and get checked if they have a concern rather than leaving it until it could be too late.

‘We think Balls to Cancer do a fantastic amount, not only raising awareness and educating, but also funding research and supporting those diagnosed. In addition, the organisation is staffed entirely by volunteers, meaning any money donated goes directly into awareness campaigns, support or research.

‘We are extremely grateful to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for its support of our trip. It really is good to see a local company getting behind a good cause. We are extremely thankful for the help in facilitating this trip, as we are covering all expenses ourselves so all the money we raise goes directly to the charity.’

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Attempting to drive 2,000 miles across Europe in a “banger” is quite ambitious, and we wish the team the best of luck.

‘It is certainly a different way of raising money for charity, and I hope they reach their target of raising £2,000 for this worthwhile cause. We’re pleased to be doing our bit to support the challenge, and will be following their progress as “Thunderbird 2” travels across the continent.’

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Photograph: (from left) Daniel Bougourd, Steam Packet Company Marketing & Online Manager Renee Caley, John Forrest and Patrick Capelen