Charities: ABF Soldiers’ Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund
When: 6th-11th September 2021
No. of miles: 600-mile round trip
Tony Jones, owner of the Knoxbridge Inn in Kent, is preparing for a huge charity initiative thought up by himself and a few pub regulars. Aptly named the Knoxbridge Frontline Tour, the charity run will feature Tony’s very own Green Goddess Fire Engine, which he bought in 2019. There will be a range of classics accompanying him, too, including a few Series Land Rovers and another fire engine just like his.
There’s a poignant reason behind the tour, as Tony and a few other drivers previously served in the military or RAF. ‘It’s an important cause, especially to us,’ Tony tells us. ‘We’ve decided to split the donations between two charities: the ABF Soldiers’ Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund.’
On their Knoxbridge Frontline Tour, the participants will be driving a 600-mile round trip to Ypres in Belgium and then across France to Normandy. It’s not the first time they’ve done a charitable tour, either. Some classic car lovers may already have spotted Tony’s previous tour on the Green Goddess Facebook page, which has fantastic pictures of each visit and the classics that took part.
Due to Covid, however, the original Frontline Tour couldn’t take place, although this didn’t stop the group from setting up a charity run across England dubbed The South Coast Invasion. Their 2020 trip managed to raise nearly £3,000: a hugely impressive sum. The drivers travelled across the south coast of England, covering around 600 miles. ‘We went to Kent, all along the south coast to Weymouth and then back up through Salisbury and Winchester, stopping at various military sites along the way,’ Tony recalls. ‘We managed to visit the Salisbury Plain Training Area, too. That was probably one of the most memorable parts, having a 1956 fire engine next to a modern-day tank; it was amazing.’
More about the Green Goddess
‘I served on one of the fire strikes when I was in the military,’ Tony explains. ‘I always quite liked the Bedford fire engines, and so when I saw one for sale online last year, I had to buy it. It didn’t need any restoration work doing, which was great.’
Little did Tony know that his purchase of the Green Goddess would turn into such a huge event. ‘It started when myself and a few regulars at my pub decided to take a trip to Normandy.’
‘The whole thing blew up from there, really. Lots of people wanted to join, which was wonderful. It’s great to raise money for such important charities.’
‘We called the fire engine Grace,’ Tony laughs. ‘My son even set up a Facebook page called ‘Grace the Goddess’; we post loads of pictures whenever we take her anywhere. They’ll definitely be a few more being posted when we set off this September! Grace is also quite well known locally; she’s always parked in the pub car park. It’s definitely a talking point for any newcomers.’
To show your support for the Knoxbridge Frontline Tour this September, please visit their GoFundMe page at:
You can also check out the Grace the Goddess Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/gracethegoddess163