When Lindsey Marks made the winning bid at the 2012 Smile4Rich Gala Dinner in the auction for a Tank Experience at BAE Systems, she knew she was in for an unusual day out. Together with her friend, Elaine Wilson, who joined Lindsey for the trip to BAE's facility in Telford, they were not to be disappointed.
Lindsey takes up the story....
"We arrived at BAE systems in Telford and were greeted by Mike Harrow ( field support officer). He and his colleague showed us a power point presentation about the work carried out at the site whilst we enjoyed some refreshments. We were then kitted out in steel capped boots and safety goggles ( we looked gorgeous) for a tour of the site where we saw some of the military vehicles that they maintain.
"After the tour we were taken to the test track, where we were given a briefing about the Warrior tank which was going to be the first vehicle we would ride in. After donning a very attractive paper suit I climbed onto the tank before sliding into the standing position for the journey. I was then given a helmet and told to hang on! We then set off on the test track and did about six circuits reaching a speed of over 40 mph. It was very exhilarating, going forwards, backwards and over a number of bumps. My friend and I then changed places and off she went, she couldn’t wipe the smile from her face!
"Our second trip was in the Challenger 2 tank which although much bigger than the Warrior was very agile and the driver was keen to show us everything this tank could do. Yet again we covered about six circuits of the test track each (I lost count because we were going at speed). After this amazing experience we were treated to lunch before being presented with a photo, certificate and goody bag as mementoes of our day. As we drove home we couldn’t stop talking about our fantastic day and how lucky we were that we had won the auction lot."
We're delighted that Lindsey and Elaine enjoyed their day, and most grateful for their generous support. We'd also like to thank BAE Systems for agreeing to provide such an unusual and unique experience for our winning bidders, and for giving them a day they'll never forget!