A Stratford High School teacher is travelling across Europe to raise money for charity.

John Buchanan-Brown, his son Callum and his best friend Stephen Fitz Patrick will be travelling 14,000km in a Fiat Panda eco active 1.1 litre car in the Mongol Rally, an unassisted endurance run.

The rally starts in Prague and ends in Russia.

"We drive from UK to Prague in the Czech Republic through South Eastern Europe, Hungary, Romania Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan,Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan Russia, Mongolia and finish at Ulan-Ude in Russia."


The rally is limited to a small car with a 1-1.2 litre engine. The teams have to raise 1000 pounds (1,939.46 NZ dollars) before the rally.

John says it will take his team five to six weeks.

'We have to get ourselves to the finish. How we get there is entirely up to us. I'm looking forward to it."

John's team is raising money for the Taranaki Mellowpuff Charitable Trust. The Trust was created after Terry and Tanya Long's daughter Melissa died. The Trust gives money to youth 19 years and under who live in Taranaki and have faced adversity.

John says he wants to raise awareness for the trust and to provide the trust with money so they can functioning.

"I taught Melissa. She was a fantastic person, she is one of the students you don't forget."

John and his team are self funded for the Rally and purchased everything they needed.

John says he is experienced in travelling but not driving overseas.


"I've never driven a manual car. I'm learning to drive manual during the rally. My son is better at it then I am, I've had a couple lessons so I'm confident I can pick it up."

"We will be going through many wonderful landscapes. The people you meet on the journey are fantastic. Our car will have decal of Melissa so she will be travelling across Europe with us.

"I have a couple of worries. One is the English roads. Once we get out of England we should be fine. I'm also worried about breaking down in the middle of nowhere. We will be relying on the kindness of strangers. If we are polite, courteous and friendly we will get a positive response. "

John is grateful to the staff and Board of Trustees at Stratford High School for allowing him to take the time off to do the rally.

"The school is encouraging and very enthusiastic."

■ To donate, go to the Mellowpuff website and put your donation under the name Mongol Rally. All the money raised goes to the trust.