East Coast Truckers Charity

Delivering Loads of Fun to Special Children

Just a Bunch of Truck Drivers, Bus Drivers, Their Families and Friends…

Delivering Loads Fun To Special Children

We are a children’s charity that helps disabled and disadvantaged children within the East Anglia region and are well known for our annual Children’s Convoy. This year our 33rd Convoy had 87 trucks and a fire engine, each carrying a disabled or underprivileged child and their carer. This year we were pleased to welcome 22 new drivers and we had 6 lady truckers.

Even before the Convoy started from County Hall in Norwich, the drivers had already driven from many parts of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and even one from the Highlands of Scotland.

In the early 1980’s East Coast Truckers was formed as a social club for drivers and their families. The first Convoy was in 1986 with just 22 trucks taking disabled children from Repton House, Norwich to Pleasurewood Hills. The 25th Convoy had over 100 trucks. We are hoping to have a similar figure for our 35th Convoy in 2020!

The Convoy is what it is, primarily because of the dedication and generosity of spirit of so many people that support it and take part, be it a driver, volunteer, marshal, entertainer, sponsor or patron. We especially recognise the dedication and enthusiasm of the officers from Norfolk & Suffolk Constabulary who provide us with our escort and keep us in line (literally)! An indication of the their valuable contribution is the fact that the police motorcycle outriders do the escort in their own time.

However, that is not all that we do…

Many people are unaware of the other benefits we provide to assist disabled and disadvantaged children and their families. Where funds are available we have provided specialist wheelchairs and equipment, paid for special medical assessments and funded sensory therapy not covered under the NHS.

We also provide free respite holidays for families at two sites on the Norfolk Coast, California Cliffs and Vauxhall Holiday Park. Families are given passes to the facilities and entertainment to ensure that the maximum benefit is offered.

During the course of the year we organise days out to local tourist attractions, providing transport, free passes for the children and subsidising the costs to other family members.

Another highlight of our year is the Children’s Christmas Party. This includes entertainment, a party tea and the arrival of Santa Claus in a big American truck. Each child receives a present that parents have secretly told us what would be appropriate. A lad one year excitedly exclaimed to Santa "How did you know I wanted some Lego"? That is truly the magic of Christmas!

To achieve these benefits we are constantly fundraising. We attend local shows where our merchandise stall and tombola are always popular. Our members and their vehicles are often to be seen in carnival processions throughout the region and we have a specially-modified exhibition trailer that can be hired for use as a stage for shows, fetes, etc. For the past 2 years we have used the charity stall that is available on the Great Yarmouth Market.

We are very lucky to receive donations from shops, cafes, pubs and the like that have one of our collection pots. This year Palmers of Great Yarmouth presented the charity with a cheque for £7000 raised by the staff over a two year period. More recently, the Co-Op in Hopton gave us a cheque for £2,650 raised by staff and customers over the previous year.

Since 2007 Reverend Geoff Brendling, an ex policeman, has undertaken the role of the Charity's Chaplin. He and his wife Gloria (seen above) are staunch supporters of the charity and Geoff is always on hand to give our members spiritual support and counselling.

We hope this has given you a brief insight into our Charity.

We would also like to remind you that the charity does not have any paid staff, we are all volunteers and it is estimated that less than 7p in each pound donated is used for admin costs.