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25th Septeber 2015

The Race to Australia (and to save the Planet!)

I Love meet and greet is an enthusiastic support of environment campaigns, whether that it is counting butterflies or planting trees. Sarah Anglim, founder and managing director of I Love meet and greet, explains: "We strongly believe that we all hold a responsibility to look after our planet and the Ardingly Solar Electric Vehicle is a great example of how school students can get involved in raising awareness of environmental issues. As a sponsor, we wanted to show our support for the team and wish them well on their adventure."

Car park closures

Cheered on by visits from our local MP, Jeremy Quin, a BBC film crew and a host of sponsors and well-wishers plus several hundred fellow pupils, the Ardingly Solar Team has launched its Solar Electric Vehicle in fitting style.

Chairman of Governors Jim Sloane and Horsham MP Jeremy Quin arrived to see the finishing touches being made to the car on Friday 18th September. Jeremey Quin tells the media “This is a fantastic project. I was immensely impressed with the car and what the team have achieved. I wish them well in their epic journey across Australia. Whatever the result of the competition all involved have learned invaluable skills for the future - and we may all learn valuable information on solar power as a result of the event.”

On Tuesday 22nd September, the official launch took place – three years after the project was devised. An audience of supporters and sponsors who have given practical help throughout that time met at Time 24 and watched a presentation by the members of the student team. After paying tribute to Dr Andrew Spiers’ inspiration and leadership, the students summarised the extraordinary range of work and experiences they have enjoyed over the past three years. As team driver and Media Manager James Price observed, after thousands of hours in various workshops, in companies and appealing for funds in boardrooms: “We realized we were not just building a solar car – that would be too easy – but running a little business too.”

One of Ardingly Solar’s key sponsors is Global Technologies Racing (GTR). Simon Kingdon Butcher, director and owner, said that while busy working on bodywork for clients such as Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren, GTR was keen to find time for the amazing Solar Project: “We are thrilled to be able to help – to make a difference here is immense. GTR is committed to bringing on youngsters in our business and this is just the earlier stage. The Ardinglystudents have been super - they are polite but have so much character and are really driven. All of our staff will follow their progress with great interest and we are willing them to go the distance.”

On Wednesday the car was crated with an enthusiastic team from sponsor Tuplinand flown to Australia by sponsor DHL. Dr Spiers and the student team will follow in early October, ready for the race on 18th October. From there the real adventure takes off: 3000km, six days in the outback, four EV drivers, two support vehicles, tents, snakes, spiders, and kangaroos! Follow their journey at: Ardingly College Blog

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