The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is backing three former Manx Grand Prix competitors who are heading to Romania on a humanitarian mission.


Jim Hunter, Ian Pert and Russ Henley plan to load a van with items including children’s clothing, toys and toiletries, and then drive from the Isle of Man to Radauti and Lasi to make deliveries to charities in the towns.


The trio, travelling under the banner Van Trip for Billy, are fundraising to cover the cost of the trip and have launched a JustGiving page; any money left after costs have been met will be donated to the Billy Redmayne Memorial Fund. The Steam Packet Company is contributing by covering the cost of travel to and from the Isle of Man.


The journey was inspired by TT legend Joey Dunlop, who regularly delivered much-needed provisions to orphanages in the Balkans. Although the 26-times TT winner never courted publicity for his charity trips, people became aware of his efforts and he was appointed OBE for his humanitarian work in 1996.


Jim, who is well-known as a travelling marshal on the TT Mountain course, said there are still children living in poverty in Romania and the need for clothes, non-perishable food, toiletries, bedding and other items remains great.


He added: ‘This idea is very much inspired by the late, great Joey Dunlop. We have spoken to charities which work in Romania and will be filling the van with things that they have asked for and driving down there to deliver, leaving on 21st October and completing the journey at the end of the month.


‘Although we are putting in some of our own money, we do need help so we have asked for donations. The Steam Packet Company’s generosity in covering the cost of travel to and from the Island makes a huge difference and will mean we have more cash to donate to the Billy Redmayne Memorial Fund.’


Jim continued: ‘Laxey lad Billy tragically lost his life in a racing accident at Scarborough earlier this year and the motorcycle racing community was robbed of one of its brightest stars. Billy was also a highly commended member of the Parachute Regiment who had been officially recognised for his bravery when engaging the enemy in conflict. It will be an honour to raise money for the fund established in his memory.’


Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We’re pleased to be able to support Jim, Ian and Russ as they not only pay tribute to two popular motorcycle racers in Joey and Billy, but also bring essential aid to children living in poverty. We all wish them a safe journey and great success in their fundraising.’


If you’d like to find out more and support the mission visit


Photograph: (from left) Ian Pert, Jim Hunter and Russ Henley who are heading to Romania with support from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company