Coast to coast American challenge

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A father and son will drive a Porsche 911 across America as they bid to raise £10,000 for Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People.

The Porsche was Michael Armitage’s dream car when he bought it in 1995, but he now plans to give it to his son Jay for his 51st birthday on March 4.

Michael, 76, is shipping the car from his home near Wetherby to New York, and he and Jay will drive 3,179 miles in just nine days to Los Angeles – where Jay, a film and TV director, now lives.

Michael said: “I will be sad to see the car go, but it feels like the right time to pass it on to Jay.

“I know it’s going to be in good hands and the climate in California will be perfect for it.

“Plus, I can still use it whenever I visit. I’m looking forward to cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.”

The pair are hoping to raise money for Martin House by completing the journey, and have set themselves a target of £10,000.

Boston Spa-based Martin House cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across West, North and East Yorkshire.

Its care, which costs nothing to the families using the services, includes respite stays, emergency care and end of life care, along with bereavement support.

It costs in excess of £9 million a year to provide this care, the majority of which comes from voluntary donations and fundraising.

Michael has kept the car in pristine condition, handwashing it every Sunday while listening to The Archers.

However, his passion for Porsches has not always been straightforward. He originally had a Porsche 944, which both of his sons crashed and which was finally written off. That was replaced by a 944 Turbo, which neither son was allowed to drive.

Then shortly after Michael finally got the silver 911- his dream car – in 1995, he was attacked and hit over the head by thieves who took the car as he arrived home from work.

Fortunately Michael wasn’t seriously hurt, and the thieves only made it a mile up the road before they damaged the car and abandoned it. It was repaired and Michael has been driving it ever since.

He added: “I suppose most sane people would have given up on owning a Porsche after all that, and bought something more sensible, but it was still my dream car, and I’ve loved every second of owning it.”

To support Michael and Jay with donations, go to web page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Christopher-Armitage1

For more information about Martin House, visit www.martinhouse.org.uk