Don’t adjust your glasses if you think you see a rash of spotty cars in Clydesdale...your eyesight is not on the blink!
Members of Lanark District Driving Instructors Association (LDDIA) are sporting spots on their cars this month to raise funds for Children in Need.
And if you happen to be in Lanark High Street tonight (Friday, November 11) you’ll get to see them all in convoy!
Taking part in the Big Learner Relay was the brainchild of association secretary Graham May.
He spotted (excuse the pun) an appeal from Louise Walsh, a driving instructor from Hampshire, to join in the fun in this, the third year of the event.
The Big Learner Relay consists of a Pudsey Top Box – the roof box with ‘L’ on it most instructors have on their cars – being relayed from one driving school car to the next.
It is the first time the relay – which covers 3000 miles worth of driving lessons in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – has travelled through Lanark.
But to make up for lost time, LDDIA instructors will be taking part in three legs!
The first, led by Hazel Stokes of Learn with Hazel, will leave The Old Stables Inn at Beattock around 4pm on Friday, arriving in Abington at 4.30pm.
Graham, of Graham May School of Motoring, will lead the convoy from Abington’s Welcome Break Services around 5pm and arrive in Lanark at 5.30pm.
Andthe last leg, led by Susan Thornton of Learn for Life, will leave Lanark’s Clyde Valley Retail Park at 6pm for the finish line at Strathaven.
While readers will be able to cheer the cars all along the route, the main event promises to be in Lanark High Street at 6pm when around 15 LDDIA members will join the convoy.
All of the cars will, of course, be sporting their stunning new spots which have already helped to raise £2200 for Children in Need.
Graham (41), from Wiston, said: “We originally put our name down for the Lanark leg but we were happy to do all three to help Louise complete the convoy.
“We’ve all been selling spots to our pupils, friends and family but there are still plenty available if anyone else wants to join in the fun!”
And locals will be given the ideal opportunity to do just that while the instructors wait for the Lanark High Street convoy to begin at 6pm this Friday.
Graham said: “Cars will be in the retail park at around 5.30pm, waiting for the convoy to take off, and we’ll be more than happy to sell even more spots then!”
As for the convoy, Graham is hoping people will line Lanark High Street to cheer the drivers on.
He said: “All the members wanted to do it so it should be a great spectacle, with 12 to 15 cars – all sporting Children in Need spots – travelling along the High Street.
“It’s a great way for the association to give something back to the community while also raising funds.”
With the original target of £1500 having been well and truly smashed, LDDIA members have set a new fundraising target of £2500.
Graham said: “We’re over the moon that we’ve managed to raise so much – people have been incredibly generous so far and we hope even more will support us.”
LDDIA members are also using the event to pay a touching tribute to one of their own. Joe Garrity was a founder member of the association in 1977 and a Lanark driving instructor for more than 50 years.
Sadly, he died in June but LDDIA instructors involved in the relay have each dedicated a Joe’s Spot in his memory and made a personal donation to Children in Need.
Graham said: “There are many, many Lanarkians who will fondly remember Joe as their instructor.
“And we’re sure that Joe will be with us in spirit on the relay this Friday.”
As for the reason for getting involved, Graham said it was simply about the association giving back.
He added: “We want to help children in need in our local communities.
“We’ve already given safe driving presentations at local schools but this is another way for us to ensure we’re helping children locally.
“The reaction has been fantastic – wee ones, in particular, seem to love our spotty cars!”
If you’d like to sign a spot, simply speak to any spotty instructor, text ‘PASS 87 £(amount)’ to 70070 or visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lddia to donate by card/Paypal.
Alternatively, if you want an LDDIA instructor to visit you so you can sign a spot, call Graham on 07963 331418.