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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Record-breaking funds raised for Bangers4Ben

Date: Thursday 19 October 2023

Messe Frankfurt UK, organisers of UK Garage and Bodyshop Event (UKGBE) has completed the 2023 Bangers4Ben rally, which raised a combined £47,500 for, automotive mental health charity, Ben.

UKGBE’s team, the Dublin Driving Dolls, took on the 2023 edition of the madcap rally from 7 to 10 October in Ireland. The team travelled 1,500 miles over four days in their very own barbie-themed ‘banger’ – and helped to raise £3,000 that has contributed towards the incredible amount raised for the charity and UKGBE partner.

A total of 38 teams competed in the madcap rally, including UKGBE’s Dublin Driving Dolls, made up of UKGBE’s Alex Jones, LKQ Euro Car Part’s Karena Shahid and established aftermarket business owners Louise Baker and Rachel Murray.

The team started from Holyhead to cross the Irish Sea to Dublin, hitting the winding roads of Ireland, before completing the tour back in Dublin to board the ferry back to Blighty.

The driving doll’s banger made it through the whole rally this year without a breakdown. Alex Jones, marketing director at Messe Frankfurt UK, organisers of Automechanika Birmingham and UKGBE says:

“We had the best time; we met so many amazing people during the trip, old friends and making new ones, and there was so much natural interest along the route from people – we even got donations handed to us when we stopped.”

Bangers4Ben was created to raise essential funds for the charity; all entrants are required to pay a £1,050 entry fee and buy a car for less than £750. Teams are encouraged to participate in fancy dress and decorate their vehicles however they choose. All cars are then be auctioned off after the mission is complete to raise even more funds for the charity.

Louise Baker owns independent garage, Womanic, which she opened in 2016, and has over 20 years of experience ‘on the spanners’, and along with teammate, 25-year-old, freelance refinisher specialising in the automotive industry, Rachel Murray, they spent their time in the lead up to the event working tirelessly to get the ‘banger’ ready.

“We had a mad rush trying to get the car finished on time, but it was all worth it when we finally got on the ferry to start the trip. We had another incredible rally, this time with a brilliant bunch of ladies on board and we raised a fantastic amount for Ben. Roll on Bangers4Ben 2024!”

Messe Frankfurt, organisers of UKGBE, also held not one, but two big breakfast events for Ben recently at the Messe Frankfurt headquarters in Surrey. Offering staff a delicious breakfast of pastries, bagels and fruit, and asking for donations in return. These events, along with participation in Bangers4Ben, helped contribute towards the £45,000 that has been donated to the charity.

During the Bangers4Ben rally, Ben charity was able to answer 340 requests for help, gave out 23 urgent food grants, received 24 direct mental health cases from the helpline and completed 40 mental health assessments.

Alex Jones continues:

“Donations to the Ben charity helps to fund the critical work it does in the automotive industry. We’re delighted to have been able to contribute essential donations to the fantastic amount they raised this year. Thanks to everyone who donated – and to Ben for organising a brilliant event.”

You can still donate to support Automechanika Birmingham’s Dublin Driving Dolls team here: