A BRAVE fundraiser is planning a madcap charity car cruise around Britain in memory of his much-loved partner who tragically died of cancer.

Matt Rhodes and a group of friends will drive open-top Minis while in fancy dress to a string of locations his partner Clare Lewis loved the most to raise funds for Mary Stevens Hospice.

Clare, who lived in Stourbridge all her life before she and Matt moved to Essington, south Staffordshire, two years ago, died of cervical cancer aged just 47 last December.

She spent huge swathes of her time helping fundraise for the Oldswinford hospice, where her father is buried in the grounds, during her life – and now heartbroken Matt is to continue in her name.

A JustGiving appeal set up at the time of her funeral in February has already raised nearly £5,000, and Matt’s road trip – called Clare’s Crazy Cruise – is being held to build on its success.

He and friends are recreating a tongue-in-cheek ‘Italian Job’ theme for the cruise, and as well as all wearing fancy dress – and a rule under no circumstances can they put the car roofs up – they will be ‘chased’ en route by pals in a huge American Chevy-style police car!

Matt said: “Clare was so very loved – we had to put her to rest in the worst possible circumstances because due to Covid we could have very few people there, so we arranged for a roadside send-off outside her mum’s home in Rufford Road and I’ve never seen anything like it – there were hundreds of people.

“We had planned to do the cruise in Europe, but because of problems with travelling we will be visiting the places she loved the most here in the UK.

“Clare was passionate about supporting the hospice and we want to raise as much as we can to support such a worthy cause.

“We decided Clare’s Crazy Cruise had to have a comedy factor, so we will be in a ‘police chase’ – and we’re all quite big blokes, so seeing us squeezed into the Minis in fancy dress will be quite funny.”

The group will set off from the hospice on Monday August 2 to head to Torquay, then on to St Ives, Cardiff, Barmouth and Liverpool, returning on August 8 to the ‘finish line’ at The Crown Inn pub, opposite the Hagley Road hospice, for more madcap fundraising.

To donate and to find out more about Matt’s fundraiser, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/clarescrazycruise.