Bears Big Bash raises big cash

The Bears present their huge donation to the Royal Alex children's hospital SUS-151108-151726001
The Bears present their huge donation to the Royal Alex children's hospital SUS-151108-151726001

More than £20,000 has been raised for The Royal Alex Children’s hospital in Sussex, to purchase vital heart monitors that are desperately needed in the Emergency Department, by the stars of Oval Racing.

The Bears had been given a target of £7,000 to purchase one of the urgently needed monitors.

Last week, the team - which included successful local drivers including Tim James from Haywards Heath and Charlie King of Burgess Hill, - proudly visited the hospital, to present their cheque for the final amount of a staggering £20,181.38.

Seven months of hard work and planning by the organisers came to fruition when ‘The Bears Big Bash’ charity meeting, took place in front of a packed crowd at Arlington Stadium, Eastbourne.

With the prospect of Old School oval racing as it used to be, the meeting organised by The Bears racing team, proved to be a huge success, with some brilliant action on a lovely summer’s evening.

As the good-natured crowd enjoyed the scorching sunshine on the terraces well into the late evening, they were treated to a ‘Battle Royale’ that turned the clock back 20 years, to a time when racing really was a much simpler affair.

With a new relaxed ‘Back to Basics’ format, the emphasis was very much on crashing and wrecking, and saw drivers from right across the UK, as well as for the first time mainland Europe, sign up to take part.

Right from the first race, the action was thick and fast. Each time a car crumpled the way they are meant to do, the enthusiastic crowd cheered.

More pleasing was that every driver to a man, just got out, shook hands, smiled and waved to the appreciative terraces.

“It really was an incredible evening’s entertainment from all the drivers,” said Bears captain Nigel Riley.

Asked about the suggestion that The Bears would return to Arlington for a re-run of the popular event in 2016, fan’s favourite Nutty Nige said: “We would love to, but it really is too early to say at this stage.”

Long-time supporter of the hospital, Michael Burnage MBE was part of the small group that pulled off this amazing event.

Speaking at the presentation he said: “The target set was a stiff one, particularly as we took the event to a new venue, with a new format. There were so many unknowns.

“A huge amount of time and effort, put in by all of the team meant we were able to smash the target. Instead of just one monitor, we will now be able to purchase three for the Emergency Department,” concluded Michael.

Report and picture contributed by Michael Burnage.