CLASSIC car drivers braved the weather to turn out in force and raise money for charity.

The annual New Year’s Day classic car run is organised by the Weymouth Vehicle Preservation Society (WVPS) and the Dorset group of the Austin Ten Drivers Club.

Peter Griffin, of WVPS, said the weather ‘couldn’t have been worse’ but paid tribute to the participants, volunteer marshals and donation collectors who all did their bit to raise thousands of pounds for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

Mr Griffin said: “There was torrential rain, accompanied by gale force winds, all day. Driving conditions were marginal to say the least.”

But 101 drivers registered for the event at this year’s starting point at Sturminster Newton car park.

Mr Griffin said: “After coffee and a chance to dry out a little, the bravest of the brave, including two motorcycles, left on the thirty eight mile ‘run’.

“Cub Scout Finn North showed real strength of character by waving off the first car.

“A coffee and comfort break was organised at the Ham car park in Blandford Forum courtesy of Scruples Café and the Crown Hotel.

“Councillor Bob Brannigan, the Maor of Blandford, with his wife Carol, braved the elements to welcome the drivers.”

The drivers enjoyed lunch at the Green Man pub at Kings Stagg and raffle prizes, which had been donated by a number of businesses, were given out.

With donations still being counted, it is hoped that the event will top last year’s total of £2,547.

The event started in 2008 when £46 was raised, and donations have increased every year.

Mr Griffin added: “The run could not have happened at all without the amazing support of all the participants, volunteer marshals and donation collectors. Conditions were so bad that all the donations made on the day had to be dried out before being deposited in the bank.”