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Newbury driving instructor joins national driving challenge for Children in Need

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A Newbury driving instructor is putting Pudsey on the map in a nationwide driving challenge for Children in Need.

Using Strava, a GPS tracking app that records running and cycling routes, instructors up and down the country have been driving individual stretches of their regions to create a country sized Pudsey Bear.

The Big Learner Relay is a nationwide annual charity project, whereby driving instructors from Scotland down to Devon take to the wheel for charity.

Grace Armstrong and Peter Skelton Ref: 47-0221
Grace Armstrong and Peter Skelton Ref: 47-0221

Raising money for Children in Need, Newbury-based instructor Peter Skelton and former driving student Grace Armstrong, 19, have driven from Newbury to Basingstoke, creating a part of the iconic yellow bear’s leg.

Not only did they take on the challenge, but they did it in style, sporting onesies picked out by Miss Armstrong for herself and her former instructor.

Mr Skelton, who has been an instructor for almost 18 years, explained that the initiative, which was to have been a convoy of cars taking part in a relay drive, now looks a little bit different, post-pandemic.

Grace Armstrong and Peter Skelton .Ref: 47-0221
Grace Armstrong and Peter Skelton .Ref: 47-0221

He said: “It used to be a full-on relay; it goes on every year, but not last year because of Covid.

“We called it the Big Learner Relay. It used to be a convoy of cars but now it’s individual instructors using Strava.

“I was asked, six years ago, to be the lead car for Newbury to Swindon with 20 other instructors in the area.”

Mr Skelton called the challenge “rewarding” and said that it was great that, as an industry, driving instructors were doing their bit for charity.

He added: “We are doing our bit to be a part of that group to raise money for Children in Need, in these difficult times.”

Ms Armstrong drove the hour and half journey with Mr Skelton and said that it was nice to be a part of the challenge and noted that they had to drive the route twice to get the perfect outline on Strava.

When asked how she became involved in the project, Miss Armstrong, who passed her driving test in August this year, said: “[Peter] just asked me and I said yes because it was a good cause.”

The pair also said they wish to take the challenge on again next year.

The progress of the project can be tracked online, where a live map shows the outline being built across the country: https://bit.ly/32jul6C

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