Bobbies set to cross the pond to help raise cash for fallen friends

131223a PC Dave Taylor, left and custody Sgt Mark Faunt pick up the keys from Marks Brooks, bodyshop manager of Malton Coachworks for their fully restored ex-Police car Morris Minor, which they will drive across America in 2015, for charity. Looking on is Traffic Constable Yvonne Taylor, back left, who will be driving a support vehicle, Emma Faunt, and father and son Martin and Shaun Allen, who worked on the restoration.  Photo by Andrew Higgins    20/03/2013

131223a PC Dave Taylor, left and custody Sgt Mark Faunt pick up the keys from Marks Brooks, bodyshop manager of Malton Coachworks for their fully restored ex-Police car Morris Minor, which they will drive across America in 2015, for charity. Looking on is Traffic Constable Yvonne Taylor, back left, who will be driving a support vehicle, Emma Faunt, and father and son Martin and Shaun Allen, who worked on the restoration. Photo by Andrew Higgins 20/03/2013

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A pair of bobbies are swapping their beat of North Yorkshire for a 3,000 mile stretch of road across the USA to raise money for fallen policemen.

Intrepid coppers Mark Faunt and Dave Taylor will make the coast to coast trek across Route 50 to raise money for the National Police Memorial Day Charity.

And their chariot? A renovated vintage morris minor, which thanks to Malton Coachworks, has been made to resemble a classic British squad car.

The pair will be among a four-strong group of police officers inside the vehicle, and Scarborough’s Sgt Faunt said the aim of the trip is to raise vital funds - and to meet their peers on the other side of the pond.

“Just the thought of going to some of these places that we wouldn’t usually visit will be such an eye opener, and I’m really looking forward to meeting a lot of other police,” he said.

The drive will span 3,073 miles in total, and will see the officers cruise from Sacramento to Ocean City, passing through 11 states on a route which has been ominously christened ‘the loneliest road’.

Sgt Faunt added: “There’s quite a lot of accidents on the road, simply because drivers get hypnotized - for miles and miles there’s just nothing at all.

They will be pass mountains, deserts and farms on the route, which will also see them pass the White House.

The old-fashioned vehicle was picked up by the adventurous group at Classic and Sport Car in Malton.

It was then passed on to Malton Coachworks, where manager Mark Brooks lovingly gave it a full makeover, transforming the vehicle into a near perfect replica of the iconic British panda car.

Mr Brooks said: “It’s had some new wings and panel repairs and a complete paint job.

“It’s spot on, but as far driving that far, rather them than me!”

And Sgt Faunt was also full of praise for work, adding: “Mark has done a fabulous job, it’s so shiny and pristine.

“We saw it for the first time the other day, and we were just smiling like Cheshire cats.

“It’s literally been stopping traffic.”

The foursome are hoping to raise around £50,000 from the trip.

Ideally though, they would like a £1 donation from each police officer in the country, which would roughly treble their estimates.

And besides meeting fellow officers of the law, the team hope to talk to give the United States a taste of the UK.

Sgt Faunt added: “About 20 or 30 per cent of American’s don’t even own a passport, so they never ever leave the country.

“The British bobby, and the car, is one of the iconic symbols of this country, and we want to meet as many people as possible to give them the opportunity of meeting a British cop.”

They hope to time the drive in order for it to climax with Police Week, in which thousands of officers pay tribute to those killed in the line of duty.

Considering the purpose of the drive, it would be the perfect way to finish their journey, and as Sgt Faunt says, pay tribute to the officers that have paid the “ultimate sacrifice”.

To donate, please visit www.iparoute50.org.