A COMMEMORATIVE lunch took place last week when three old friends met to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a remarkable event.
In late September 1989 pals Dick Lees, Woking resident Malcolm Head, and Mike Edwards, set out in a borrowed Toyota to see how far they could drive and how many European countries they could visit in a weekend – all in the name of charity.
They left Guildford at midday on the Friday and by 1am on Monday morning they were in Andorra, having visited France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, West Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Italy, Monaco and Spain en route – 18 countries in total.
In the previous 61 hours and 27 minutes they had driven 3,316 miles non-stop except for fuel and comfort breaks, at an average speed of 57mph.
They completed a journey which nobody had ever undertaken before, and which has not been repeated since.
In a postscript to the story, the Guinness Book of Records had agreed to ratify the achievement, as long as there was a photographic record of the journey.
Malcolm explained: “Progress, and each country visited, were carefully logged on a date/time camera.
“The film was duly sent off upon our return, but there was a mix-up and the pictures back from Kodak showed a happy couple enjoying a holiday in America.”
Fortunately, after a storm of protest in the national newspapers, the error was corrected and the record certificate was duly issued.