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Ferrari California Experience: brightening the lives of the UK’s deserving children

Silverstone, 26th July 2011. Following last year’s inaugural event at the Silverstone Circuit, Ferrari North Europe once again joined forces with the British Racing Drivers’ Club and the Silverstone Circuit to give some of the nation’s most deserving young people a very special experience.

Earlier today, 50 disabled, disadvantaged and seriously ill children, nominated by the Variety Club, the Children’s Charity and BEN, the automotive industry charity, each experienced the thrill of being driven around the iconic track in a fleet of Ferrari California sports cars. Their chauffeurs were professional drivers and talented young members from the BRDC’s ‘SuperStars’ scheme. Also taking the wheel were reigning BTCC champion and Fifth Gear front man Jason Plato and Pink Floyd drummer and noted Ferrari enthusiast Nick Mason.

The event was hosted by larger-than-life personality Mike Brewer, who currently presents Wheeler Dealers on Discovery Channel.

Lending their support were a number of other famous faces, including investigative journalist, presenter and Dancing On Ice runner up Donal MacIntyre and multi award winning sports presenter Steve Rider.

Also helping out was Variety Club ambassador and Miss England Alize Lily Mounter, making her first public appearance since being crowned last week.

Aged from seven to 20, the children had travelled from all over the UK to attend the Ferrari California Experience. All have displayed remarkable fortitude in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some are battling illness; others are suffering personal bereavement but all had the chance to put their problems behind them and enjoy a truly unforgettable day.

Whilst each child was treated to a 15-minute passenger ride, their families were given unique access to the exclusive BRDC Clubhouse, which is decorated with evocative images of racing cars and memorabilia charting Silverstone’s illustrious history.

Children also had the chance to break a record of their own as they all competed in a thrilling race organised by F1 in Schools. A second giant race track was also in situ courtesy of Hot Wheels. Whilst older ones enjoyed the latest PS3 games, younger members were entranced by top children’s entertainers, Smartie Artie.

On departing the children were each presented with a unique souvenir, a USB stick featuring footage from their own personal ride captured by an on-board camera.

Among those enjoying the day was 10-year-old Tom Blakemore from Halesowen in the West Midlands. Tom was diagnosed with an inoperable tumour in January 2010 but, thanks to pioneering treatment he received in the US, is now cancer-free. “Tom was actually invited last year but for obvious reasons couldn’t make it,” said his mother Jayne. “The fact that 18 months later he is here to enjoy this brilliant event means the world to us. The look on the faces of Tom and the other children as they got out of their Ferrari is something I will remember for a long time.”

Commented Matteo Torre, Regional Manager of Ferrari North Europe: “This year’s California Experience has exceeded even last year’s inaugural event, consolidating its position as an integral part of FNE’s CSR activity and one that we will build on year after year. I would like to publicly thank all the partners whose generous donation of time and resources has helped create an unforgettable day for a group of extraordinary young people.”

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Ferrari Magazine

9591