Bolton Wanderers FC legend Jimmy Phillips teamed-up with Mercedes-Benz Vans Dealer Ciceley Commercials to support a team of charity walkers on the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge.
The trial entails trekking over the highest points of England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours, which means a comfortable, reliable vehicle in which to drive between them is every bit as crucial to success as strong legs and lungs.
Jimmy, who racked up more than 300 appearances as a defender for his home town team, as well as serving two stints as caretaker manager, is now in charge of developing young Wanderers talent in his role as Academy Director.
He acted as support driver to the team of walkers, driving between the three hiking sections in a nine-seat Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer loaned by Ciceley Commercials’ Bolton branch.
Led by tireless fund-raiser Daniella Chesney, the sponsored walkers were raising cash for The Christie Charity, which supports the work of Manchester’s Christie Hospital, the largest cancer treatment centre of its kind in Europe. Their target is £10,000. Daniella chose the charity as a way of thanking the hospital that treated her successfully for no fewer than seven bouts of cancer in seven years.
The walkers were up and down Great Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, near Fort William in Scotland, in about five hours. Jimmy then drove them through the night to Scafell Pike in the Lake District, where he grabbed a nap in the Vito before setting off again on the drive to Snowdon in North Wales.
“We had a nervous moment or two when were held up by a road accident on the A55, which meant we were late arriving at the start point,” recalled Jimmy. “The walkers had to pick up the pace but they rose to the challenge and made it to the top and back with just five minutes to spare.”
By the time he had chauffeured them back to Bolton, Jimmy had clocked-up close to 900 miles at the wheel. “The Vito was brilliant, so smooth, quiet and comfortable that I never felt too tired,” he recalled. “Meanwhile, the walkers were also able to relax and even sleep during the drives between peaks. It was the perfect vehicle for the job, and a very important member of the team.”
As a 116 CDI variant, Ciceley’s Vito is powered by a 161 hp, 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine capable of returning up to 45.6 mpg (combined cycle). Its three rows of seats, mounted on rails so they can be slid backwards or forwards, meant there was ample room for Jimmy and his six passengers, as well as all their kit.
Like all Vito models, the vehicle is also equipped with a class-leading array of standard safety features. Jimmy did not activate it, but the innovative Attention Assist system, which automatically detects and signs of drowsiness and alerts the driver through a combination of visual and audible warning signals, was certainly reassuring.
Mike Lewis, Dealer Principal at Ciceley Commercials, said: “We were delighted to be able to support Jimmy, Daniella and their team on this very worthy undertaking, and we knew the Vito would be just the vehicle they needed.”
The charity appeal is still ongoing – those wishing to donate can do so throughwww.justgiving.com/fundraising/daniella-chesney
Friday 11th August 2017