Two friends from Kilmarnock prepare to travel 1,500 kilometers through Italy in a three-wheeled Piaggio Ape to raise money for a charity close to their hearts.
Lorenzo D’Andrea, 59, and Tom Adam, 61, will spend three weeks on the road – both driving and sleeping in the refurbished vehicle – to raise awareness about mental health and addiction, and give back to River Garden Auchincruive, Ayr, for helping Lorenzo’s son, Seb.
The charity helps people recover from drug and alcohol addiction by providing a long-term residential program and harnessing skills through a range of jobs including horticulture, carpentry and cooking.
Today, thanks to the charity and its support, Seb, 35, has turned his life around and lives in his own home in Kilmarnock, is training as a gas engineer and is enjoying a drug-free life.
Papa Lorenzo, former owner of vehicle repair specialists Dandrea, Kilmarnock, fully restored the 1998 Piaggio Ape – dubbed ‘Braveheart Giro D’Italia’ – himself, fitting it with a roof box tent and of solar panels.
And with a top speed of just 35mph, Lorenzo and Tom will avoid the motorways, taking the most scenic route through the Apennines as they loop a loop from the starting point in Celano, Abruzzo, where it’s from. Loreno’s family on July 3.
Braveheart Giro D’Italia can hold up to 750kg in weight and will be stocked with water, fuel, supplies and even a portable toilet and shower.
Lorenzo’s wife and Seb’s mother, Ali, 56, said: “It’s going to be quite a challenge, but River Garden is amazing and has changed my son’s life and that of his family.
“Seb is booming. He is completely different.
“He has a house, a wonderful girlfriend, and he’s come out and just blossomed.
“This trip is really because we want to give something back to them.”
Ali, who took care of the administration and social media of the fundraiser, was also in contact with all the supercar factories in Italy and prepared Lorenzo and Tom to visit the Piaggio Museum.
And the team even got official support from Mayor Settimio Santilli and the municipality of Celano.
She said: “The people of Celano have been amazing – I think because they know Lorenzo and his family so well.
“I think they felt our pain when Seb wasn’t good.
Ali added, “I will be forever grateful to River Garden, so mental health and addiction awareness and fundraising for them is really important to me and my family.”
You can donate to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/braveheartgiro
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