Business boss is Kermit the Frog for £16k charity hop to Monaco

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Gatwick Diamond Business (GDB) members raised £16,500 with a Top Gear-style tour to Monaco.

Fifty one people from businesses in the diamond took part in a 15-hour journey from Manor Royal to the south of France to raise money for 13 local charities on Saturday (May 11).

GDB CEO Jeremy Taylor, who was dressed as Kermit the Frog, treasurer David Montgomery and chairman Steve Pullen were restricted to public transport while 11 other teams travelled by car.

The fundraisers set off from Manor Royal at 4.30am and the teams in cars beat those using public transport.

Mr Taylor said it was the biggest fund raiser Gatwick Business Diamond had held. He added: “In previous years we have raised quite a lot but this was the biggest thing we’ve done for fund raising and awareness.”

The teams which drove the Audi cars were from easyJet, Creative Pod, Jumpstart Interactive, Extech, Carpenter Box, Reeves LLP, PVL, Coulsdon Audi, Harvey John and Accelerated Mail and Marketing, South Lodge Hotel, Wessex Networks, Media Word Waves and Unibind.

First to the finish line was easyJet.

Mr Taylor pledged to wear the nylon frog suit if he raised more than £1,000 - he has raised £2,700.

He said: “Quite a few fit and healthy people have done things like the three peaks challenge and all that kind of stuff and I’ve managed to avoid doing anything like that what-soever.

“So it was decided by the team we should do something I could take part in and if we could include a large amount of humiliation for me that’s even better.”

The teams raised £16,500 on top of the £1,000 each paid to take part.

All money raised will go to Crawley CVS, Chestnut Tree House, Golden Lion Children’s Trust, Home-Start, Outreach 3Way, NSPCC, The Olive Tree, Rockinghorse, St Catherine’s Hospice, Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance, Sussex Community Foundation, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Young Enterprise and Young Epilepsy.

Jenna Durdle, corporate fundraiser at St Catherine’s Hospice said: “All those who took part in and supported this impressive challenge have really ‘revved up’ our funds, helping us to ensure we can provide our expert end of life care to local people.”

Simon Livesley, operations director for Outreach 3 way, said: “It was an exciting and inspiring challenge; Outreach 3 Way cheered them off at the weekend and there was a great atmosphere. This amount will really make a difference to the people we support, helping them to truly live the lives they choose.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/teams/gdbchallenge2013