A HEADTEACHER from Bootle has successfully completed a four-day journey to Barcelona with three of his close friends in a pirate-themed car to raise money for a cancer charity.

Pete Mills, headteacher of Captain Shaw’s Primary School, joined BAE engineers Gary Jewula, Matthew Sloan and Mike Jones on the voyage in support of their close friend Danielle Fitzsimmons, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in October last year.

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On Friday, the four friends set off in a BMW, which had been transformed into something resembling a pirate ship, as part of the Wacky Rally Barmy to Barcelona, which sees competitors drive through Europe in banger cars.

1,500 miles and nine countries later, the pirates arrived having raised more than £1,600 for cancer research.

Mr Jones said: "We honestly can't believe how generous people have been. The support from back home has been amazing but even on our journey we've had drivers who have spotted our car and given us their spare euros towards the cause. It's been great to have so many people behind us."

To enter the rally, the boys had to buy a car for less than £300 and redesign it in a comical manner ready to tackle the Swiss Alps and the rolling hills of Italy before arriving in the Spanish catalan capital.

Most of the car was done up by them but schoolkids from Captain Shaw's Primary School also got to paint the car in preparation for the wacky rally.

Prior to leaving for Barcelona, Mr Mills said: "The children have loved being part of it - and the car has turned out far better than we ever imagined it would. It's been great fun, with loads of hands on work, we've learnt so much about Europe and the children will be following us every step of the way."

Danielle Fitzsimmons, 33, a teacher at St Pius X Catholic Primary School in Barrow has pledged with the support of her family and friends, to do a year of fundraising under the Fighting Fitz campaign.

She is aiming to raise £10,000 for cancer research, with the pirate-themed escapade contributing towards that grand total.

The 33-year-old mum-of-two, who has since returned to classes following radiotherapy treatment, said: "I have been in touch with them right the way through the trip and it sounds like it's been a lot of fun but also quite hard work to navigate across Europe.

"It's great that they can enjoy themselves and raise money for charity at the same time. It's absolutely overwhelming how much they've raised and it's better than anything I could ever have imagined."