A SCOOTER-LOVING builder who planned to ride his trusty Lambretta from Halesowen to Switzerland and back again for charity had to fly home after it gave up the ghost in Germany.
However, Darren Rowe did get to the European Lambretta rally in Davos and is on course to raise £1,000 for the British Heart Foundation.
Despite being forced to sleep rough, rely on strangers kindness, running out of oil and being stranded in Germany Darren Rowe said he would love to do it all over again.
Darren, who at 44 is the same age as his Lambretta, said: "I had so many things go wrong on one trip, my sleeping bag went up in flames before I had even got out of England and then I ran out of oil in Lille.
"It looked like I would have to sleep in a shop doorway but then I met a lovely mother and son who put me up for the night and gave me some wonderful French hospitality."
Darren then rode to Metz where he had to sleep at a motorway service station before clocking up 380 miles in one day to get to his destination in Davos.
He said: "It was all worth it being at the rally, it really was a great experience, I don't speak any langauges but managed get through by asking for beer, fags and kebabs."
However, the trip home was again to be hit by pitfalls and disasters.
He said: "I decided to ride back home through Germany but my scooter broke down in Stuttgart.
"I couldn't phone my insurers but luckily my friend back home Russel Lowe masterminded the resure bid and got me a flight home.
"My scooter is still in Germany but I am just glad to be home, I'd do it again but I think my mrs will have something to say about it."
Darren's partner Sarah had inspired the trip, she had a heart attack aged 45 two years ago and now suffers with Coronary Heart Disease and acute Angina and her father's family all passed away from heart attacks.
Darren said: "I wanted to raise cash and awareness about this illness and though my bike did not make it home I still think with the money I'm raising it has been a successful trip."
The trip was promoted by Interceptor scooter club in Stourbridge and Dave Lewis of Modern World Scooter Club.
To donate to Darren's fund visit www.justgiving.com/Euro-lambretta-ts1.