Ford Fiesta

A pair of Essex fundraisers will help Ford celebrate Fiesta's 30th birthday on the move when they drive the latest model 4,000 miles round the coast of Britain.

Fiesta drivers Kieran and Karen Sandwell, from Billericay, turned to Ford of Britain HQ when selecting the ideal car for their 23-day charity dash in aid of Grown Up Congenital Heart (GUCH) condition. The GUCH patients' association has supported Kieran, aged 35, in his battle with his congenital heart condition.

After marrying Karen, 32, in July last year, the newly weds wanted to find a way to raise both cash and the profile of GUCH. Driving round the British coastline in a little over three weeks is the Sandwells' chosen challenge as they both love travel and visiting new places.

Ford is the largest of the Brentwood companies supporting Kieran and Karen's charity trip, which began at Warley Central Office at 2pm on March 24. Also cheering on the Sandwells, in their Ford-loaned 1.4-litre Ford Fiesta Ghia, were Kieran's colleagues from Cleanaway, near Ford at Warley, and staff from the National Blood Service, where Karen works in marketing.

Chris Muers, Ford Fiesta product manager, said: "The Fiesta is the perfect partner for Kieran and Karen's challenge. In the 30 years since Fiesta was launched, the car has proved it's durable, reliable and fun to drive. We know the Sandwells will have a safe and enjoyable trip in the Fiesta - Britain's favourite small car."

To meet their target of returning to Brentwood on April 16, Kieran and Karen will have to drive an average of 175 miles a day. As well as fundraising for GUCH, along the route they will be encouraging people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and to become blood donors.

Kieran was born with a heart defect and has undergone numerous operations and treatments. In January 2005 he was told that corrective surgery is no longer a possibility and that a heart transplant is the only future option. Karen's work at the National Blood Service, part of National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), provides first-hand knowledge of the campaign for more blood and organ donors.

Kieran said: "We thank Ford for helping to make this event possible. We wanted to give something back to the charity that has helped me over the years. Both of us enjoy travelling and it's great to combine this with raising money for GUCH. Many people born with a heart condition need blood or even a transplant during their lives. That's why we're encouraging everyone to donate blood and go on the NHS Organ Donor Register if they can."

Read more about Kieran and Karen's challenge at

Published : 25/03/06 Author : Melanie Carter

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