The Italian Job is a fundraising event that has since 1990 raised well over £3 Million Pounds for children’s charities across the UK. In turn, those charities have helped improve the lives of countless vulnerable children.
A personal connection
We’ve got a very personal connection with the Italian Job here at Raring2go! Our busy and very much hands-on managing director Freddie St. George doesn’t have much spare time on his hands, but whatever time he does manage to find, he dedicates to the Italian Job fundraising event. The event he co-founded in 1990 with his mother.
What is the Italian Job?
Briefly, the Italian Job is an annual event that requires teams of two people to drive to Italy and back in a Mini of any age, shapes size or colour. Old or new it doesn’t matter. In the process all participating teams pledge to raise money for the nominated Children’s Charities. Simple!
We know he’s obviously biased, but here’s how Freddie describes the Italian Job:
- It is an unforgettable driving adventure through some of Europe’s most stunning scenery.
- It’s what you’d find in the dictionary if you looked up social motoring at its very best.
- It’s a Kodak moment all day, every day!
- It’s belonging to a fun-loving community that, over the past 32 years, has raised over £3 million pounds for children’s charities
It’s feeling proud to help disadvantaged children
It’s raising money for children in a fun way
How it all started
Freddie explains ‘The Italian Job started as a kind of joke really. Way back in 1990 together with some Mini loving friends we decided to organise what we thought would be a one-off fundraising event’.
Quickly realising he needed a lot of help to organise the trip, he enlisted the support of his Italian mother who at that time worked in group travel. Together they set about planning the Italian Job 1990.
Slightly stupidly, Freddie thought it would be a great idea to send a press release to a national motoring magazine. So that is exactly what he did and when they published the news in their next edition, Freddie and his mother were almost overwhelmed by letters and phone calls, in those pre-email and mobile phone times, from other people who wanted to join in the fun.
So they accepted entries from all over the UK, Europe and further a field. Eventually, in October 1990, 55 teams set off for the inaugural Italian Job and in the process they raised a lofty £70,000 for Children in Need and Childline. And that was where Freddie and his mother thought the event would remain, a one off, very successful single fundraising event….. little did they know.
Almost immediately after the 1990 event ended and practically before they had time to catch their collective breath, they began to receive applications for entry for the Italian Job 1991! It was at this precise point that they realised the Italian Job had to happen every year. And every year without fail it did, with the notable exceptions of course of 2020 and 2021 for reasons of the pandemic.
Fundraising – a condition of entry in the Italian Job
Over the years, one thing that has always been a constant with the Italian Job was that fundraising for the chosen children’s charities was a condition of entry. All participating teams accepted this condition. Actually, not only did they accept this condition, but it’s fair to say they embraced it enthusiastically.
So enthusiastically in fact that fast forward to April 2022 and the event sat at a mere £17,000 short of the £3 Million Pounds Raised Fundraising Target. But because of the pandemic and lockdowns, there was very little opportunity to organise an Italian Job event to get it across this magical fundraising target.
Then, in January 2022 something quite extraordinary happened. Mike Cooper, the son of the late Sir John Cooper CBE (the inventor of the Mini Cooper), contacted Freddie and told him he wanted to do ‘something special’ in 2022 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the birth of the Mini Cooper.
The ‘something special’ Mike had in mind was the donation of a brand new ’John Cooper Anniversary Edition MINI JCW’ to the Italian Job to sell to raise money for the children’s charity Buttle UK.
The MINI went up for auction at Barons Classic Car Auction in Surrey on Friday April 29th 2022. It was hoped the car would sell for around £30,000 which would easily have taken the Italian Job across the £3 Million Pounds mark.
In the end an online bidder pledged a flabbergasting £50,000 for the car which literally catapulted the Italian Job through the barrier and well beyond!
So where to now?
Well, after the imposed hiatus of two years, the Italian Job 2022 is on course to head to Italy in October and in so doing hopes to raise even more more money for Buttle UK.
If you’re a MINI owner (again, any age, shape size of colour) and you fancy being part of this incredible social motoring event, please visit www.italianjob.com and join our MD Freddie and his nearly 90 year old mother for a 10 day driving adventure you won’t forget.
Services to Charity
In 2020 Freddie and his mother were awarded MBE’s for ‘services to charity’.
Here at Raring2go! we couldn’t be prouder of Freddie and his mum and their incredible fundraising. This is why you’re going to see the Italian Job mentioned quite a lot on our website.
Learn more about Buttle UK here