He’s no plonker...it’s all for heroes!

Darren (left foreground) and friend Ben Riches from the Duke of Lancaster Regiment together wiith friends at the war memorial in Fleetwood.
Darren (left foreground) and friend Ben Riches from the Duke of Lancaster Regiment together wiith friends at the war memorial in Fleetwood.

THIS time next year, Rodney, we’ll be millionaires!

So says Del Boy Trotter in the famous sitcom, Only Fools and Horses, which features wheeler dealer Del, who dreams of making it big – but drives a dodgy three-wheeler.

Now Fleetwood man Darren Abey, a massive fan of the show and owner of one of the Robin Regal vans used in the series, is about to make a packet of cash too.

But Darren is not out to become a mega-minted yuppie type, like his TV idol.

Instead, he is hoping to raise lots of cash for a good cause – the armed services charity, Help The Heroes, which supports badly wounded service men and women.

His plan is to drive the 1972, three-wheeler van, and a Reliant trailer painted the same yellow colour, around every Premiership football stadium in the country at the start of next season.

Along the way he hopes to collect shirts and memorabilia from each club and then auction the items off during a big money-spinning night in Fleetwood later this year.

It’s all kushti, as Del might say.

Ex-HGV driver Darren, of Oxford Road, Fleetwood, is also enlisting the help of Fleetwood Old Boys Band.

When the car and trailer are driven out of Fleetwood at the start of the football tour, the band will play him out with a military march.

Aptly, Darren has coined the tour “Only Fools and Heroes”.

Darren, 44, told the Weekly News: “Obviously I am a big fan of Only Fools and Horses and it was great getting hold of the van.

“It didn’t take me long to notice the attention I received when I was driving it, and I realised I might be able to use that for a good cause and raise money for charity.

“I’m always getting stopped when I park the van up, it’s unbelievable how people react.

“So many people love the TV show and the Trotters.”

Darren forked out £2,000 for the van four years ago, and has driven thousands of miles in it.

He continued: “Help The Heroes is a brilliant charity and I am sure a lot of local people have someone they know serving in Afghanistan or Iraq.

“This charity helps our servicemen when they really need it, so I am trying to help the charity help them.

“A few of my pals from Fleetwood are working with me, even though they thought I was off my head at first!

“Now we have even set up a website and it’s all starting to happen.

“People are welcome to visit it and can donate money via the site, which is fully secure.”

Darren also plans to drive the van to Wooton Basset, the village where the country’s fallen heroes are brought to before they are taken home to their final resting places.

His aim is to have a stand in the village centre where villagers will be welcome to offer donations to the charity, large or small.

There are also plans to take the van and trailer to the TT Rally on the Isle of Man to hold a collection.

Darren, a member of the Only Fools and Horses Fan Club, added: “It has massive potential and our aim is to raise as much money as possible.”

Del Boy’s dim brother, Rodney, might have been called a plonker, but Darren is convinced this latest bit of wheeler dealing is a sure fire winner.

Anyone wishing to find out more should visit the website: www.onlyfoolsandheroespremiershiptour.org.