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Local Pensioner realises dream to lap Brands Hatch - 23 Aug 2011

Pensioner Rita Turner realised a lifetime ambition on Friday 19 August, when she completed her first laps of the Brands Hatch circuit. However her means of transport was a little unconventional, as she took to the track in a mobility scooter!

79-year old Rita is no stranger to the motoring world, as the Farningham resident worked as a bus driver, regularly covering the route from Swanley to West Kingsdown that passes the circuit. She always dreamed of lapping the track in her bus and despite retirement and a back injury, finally took to the tarmac along with cyclists from the Swanley and North Downs Lions Club on their annual "Bike around Brands" sponsored ride.

After completing her first lap Rita commented: "It's quite a thrill! The scooter handles well and it's everything I hoped it would be, the weather's fine and I can't believe I'm finally on Brands Hatch. It's given me a wonderful feeling of belonging"

Swanley and North Downs Lions Club is part of Lions Clubs International, the world's largest service organisation, with 1.35 million members in 206 countries. In the 12 months leading up to June this year they have raised £12,000 for EllenorLions Hospices, a service for adults living in Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley and surrounding villages. They also run a children and young people's service, chYps, which extends further afield. Every week they provide hospice care in the family home for 300 adults and 80 children and each year 250 people receive in-hospice care.

Colin McRobert, Event Organiser for Swanley and North Downs Lions Club said, " Rita completed 6 laps of the 1.2 mile Indy circuit before the somewhat chilly evening weather caused her to give up. The sponsor money raised by Rita and the other riders will be over £4,000. The Lion's share will be donated to EllenorLions Hospices and the balance retained by the Club to help others in need.

"Of those who took part," he continued, "76 were under 14 years of age and 108 had ridden in previous years. Lions Club President Peter Lampkin, and the members, are indebted to the regular supporters, those new to the event and to Jonathan Palmer, of MotorSport Vision, and his team at Brands Hatch, for their assistance in running this important annual fund raiser."