Big Learner Relay 2017

And they’re off!  Year 4 of the Big Learner Relay kicked off with a fantastic convoy in Northern Ireland, some wonderful background shots of their handover points.

In case you’re not aware of the Big Learner Relay, some background.  It’s all in aid of Children in Need and the brainchild of Louise Walsh, ADI and ADI trainer from Hampshire.  It takes the form of a massive relay, with a special yellow Pudsey topbox being passed from learner lesson to lesson on a tour of the UK.  From 8 in the morning till 8 at night, Lou and her topbox get passed around in hourly stints, a gruelling schedule for two weeks.

ADIs put spots on their cars and get students, friends and family to sponsor them to raise money.  They have raffles, cake sales… whatever they can think of to raise money for a good cause.  Then they turn up at their local handover venue and join in the convoy to the next handover, following the lead car and trying to stay together.  There are small convoys, and large ones, driving through towns, cities, villages and countryside to deliver Pudsey to his next location.

Lou and Pudsey flew from Northern Ireland to Aberdeen to start day 1 of the mainland relay.  Another fantastic day, with wonderful support and photographs.  That bear seems to manage to turn up all over the place!

Over two weeks they will travel around 3,000 miles, down the East coast then across to the Midlands, down to the South, on to the South West, then turn northwards again, taking in Wales, finally ending up in Liverpool two weeks later.  Phew!  Makes you breathless just thinking of it!  Something like 190 stops and goodness only knows how many ADIs and learners!  There will be police escorts, bikers, learners towing, learners in lorries – endless permutations of every type of learner.

The grand finale on Children in Need day itself will be gathering at Haydock Park racecourse, and then convoying into Knowsley Safari Park for a circuit amongst the animals.  And all wrapped up with a safari themed party in the evening.

The Relay is such a happy event in the ADI calendar.  It is a real coming-together of people to make the event happen.  Because one thing is for sure – without enthusiastic ADIs it wouldn’t!  People make new friends, it has become a real ‘family’, social groups are formed, even local associations.  Business contacts too.  At our local Plymouth fundraising effort this weekend, one ADI said he would pass on surplus enquiries to another who is coming back to learners after a period away.  And all because of BLR!

And I should mention that it has raised over £250,000 in 3 years!  The BBC have been so impressed that they have allowed BLR to use the Pudsey logo, a rare privilege.

ADINJC is proud to support Big Learner Relay and wishes it every success.

If you would like further information you can check out their website – www.biglearrelay.co.uk.  And if you would like to make a donation you can use this link – http://www.biglearnerrelay.co.uk/donate/