East Harling couple seek help to complete charity mission after van breakdown

Jerry Cuthbert and his mother-in-law Libby Heminway at a sale last summer, to raise funds for the mission to Romania

Jerry Cuthbert and his mother-in-law Libby Heminway at a sale last summer, to raise funds for the mission to Romania

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A fund–raising drive has been launched to help an East Harling couple complete their annual charity mission to Romania.

Jerry and Cathy Cuthbert set off from their home on Boxing Days after spending months collecting gift–aid for disadvantaged children in Romania.

Their Ford Transit van was full to the brim with around 340 boxes containing gifts, clothes, shoes and medical supplies.

But the following day their newly-purchased van broke down on a motorway in Cologne, leaving the couple stranded.

Mechanics could not fix the vehicle and the couple, who have made the same journey for the past nine years, had to leave it behind and return to the UK by rail.

“At first we thought it was just going to be a simple problem like a spark plug but after already spending more than £450, we were told it would cost a lot more than that to fix,” said Mr Cuthbert, 52.

“It is a 2008 model and only done 50,000 miles but it sounds like there is a problem with the injectors which can be expensive and complicated to cure.”

Mr and Mrs Cuthbert, who also run the UK2ROM charity, decided to return home to plan their next steps.

One of their supporters has offered to set up a fund–raising page to help raise money for the van to be fixed.

“The garage in Germany has agreed to keep the van secure in the short term and our aim is to bring it back to the UK, first. We hope to get it fixed locally before setting off on the journey again at Easter,” added Mr Cuthbert.

“We have set a target of £2,000 to cover the costs of getting the van back and then fixed once and for all.

“For a lot of the children, what we deliver is all they receive for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking this happened but we are hopeful we can get the van fixed as soon as possible.”

To donate to help fix the van, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sj-turner