The Martine Brooks Charity Challenge 2006

The Great Barford Drive



Other Events



How They Do It

How to Help

About Martine

About Gable

About Steve


Supported By

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On 22nd August 2006 at 6:30 pm, Martine Brooks, a blind woman from St Neots, drove the length of the new Great Barford Bypass in Bedfordshire in a Renault Clio, in support of the  Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

She  reached speeds of up to 65mph down the new bypass, driving from the Black Cat Roundabout on the A1, to Water End Junction (Bedford), performed a flawless three point turn, and drove back to the A1.  "It was all over so quickly" she said after the 8 mile drive - this was the first time she had driven this car at over 15mph, as her usual practice car was a much larger Citroen Xsara.

The Martine Brooks Great Barford Challenge is still accepting donations, and has some way to go to meet the target for this very worthy cause.  We are over half-way there, and still need your support.


At any one time the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association supports about 5,000 guide dogs in the UK.

Every year they breed over 1,000 guide dog puppies, some of which go on to become brood bitches and stud dogs.

It costs the Association around 10 per day (raised through voluntary donations) to breed, train and care for each guide dog.

The working life of a guide dog is about seven years and many guide dog owners have several dogs during their lifetime.

This year, GDBA are celebrating their 75th anniversary.

How Do They Do That

Martine and her driving instructor, Steve, have developed a method of communication, whereby Steve can tell Martine how fast to go, and how much to turn, and Martine drives the car, estimating the speed from the selected gear, and the sound of the engine.

Instruction Examples:



Left 2

Left Turn, Held for 2 Seconds

Tight Left 1

A Tighter Left Turn, Held for 1 Second

Hold Right

A Rolling Right Turn, Held Wheel

On / Off

Adjustments to Rolling Turn to Maintain Course

90 Degree Right Turn

Just as it says, a 90 Degree Right Turn

3 Point Turn

Again, Just as it says

Accelerate to 40 Mph

Again, Just as it says

Stop Stop Stop

Emergency Stop, practiced, but never needed

How You Can Help

By donating cash, or cheque made out to "Martine Brooks Driving Challenge".

by bank transfer to the Martine Brooks Driving Challenge bank account at Barclays, St. Neots: 20-74-81 70822183.

in person at Barclays, St. Neots or Barclays, Bedford "Martine Brooks Driving Challenge" account (Remember to ask about Gift Aid).

Thank You

Thanks to Peter Paskell and Christine Bryant for their support on the day.

Special thanks must also go to Gordon Ashcroft and Peter, without whom we would never have been able to learn in the first place.

Many thanks to Laura, Sharon and all of the staff of the Little Chef, Black Cat, who worked very hard in support of Guide Dogs for the Blind.


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About Martine

Martine has been a guide dog owner for 25 years and has owned four guide dogs.  She has done many events in the past to help raise funds for Guide Dogs, including a parachute jump in 1987, and a walk around Rutland Water in 2004.

About Gable

Gable is a nine year old flat coat retriever.  He has been with Martine since he was 19 months old.  He loves his work and the fuss he gets whenever Martine is out and about.

About Steve

Steve is an aerospace engineer who enjoys paragliding and as a consequence likes to take his life into his own hands and which is why he talked Martine into learning to drive and taking up this challenge.

Supported By

  • Denise Hubbard, Drive aHead, St Neots

  • The Highways Agency

  • Edmund Nuttall Ltd. 

  • Guidedogs for the Blind

  • St Neots Guide Dogs Fundraising
    Branch (Ruth, Arthur and Sally)

  • Phil Brooks

  • Barclays Bank plc, Eastern Region

  • EADS Astrium Ltd.

  • Ross Francis, South Beds News


This is the video "The Day".  If it doesn't play here, please use the link above in the videos section.

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