One millionth Midlands-made Range Rover donated to Help For Heroes
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was joined by soldiers from Solihull and Fiji as he accepted the one millionth Range Rover produced in the West Midlands on behalf of charity Help For Heroes.
Lance Corporal Matt Croucher, 26, from Solihull, was awarded the George Cross, the highest medal for gallantry not in the face of the enemy, after throwing himself on a grenade in Afghanistan in 2008, saving the lives of three comrades. He escaped unscathed, except for minor injuries, when his rucksack took the force of the blast.
He said it was "fitting" that a car produced by Land Rover in his home town was being sold to raise money for Help For Heroes.
"Every single person that has been in the British military has used a Land Rover at some point in their career," he said.
"It is the best four-by-four in the world by far, which is why the Ministry of Defence uses it."
The Range Rover was driven from Lode Lane, Solihull, where it was built, to London by Land Rover's managing director, Phil Popham. He was followed on the 118-mile drive by a convoy of heritage Range Rovers, driven by their enthusiast owners.
Also present at the presentation was Private Derek Derenalagi, 35, from Fiji, who lost both his legs during a Taliban attack in Helmand in 2007 but is currently training in athletics in the hope of representing Britain in the 2012 Paralympics.
He said: "Help For Heroes funded a trip to San Diego as part of the Battle Back programme which helped me discover athletics for the first time."
The charity supports members of the Armed Forces who were wounded in action and Clarkson is one of its patrons.
The £85,000 Vogue model, which had the number plate "1,000,000", will be sold at auction later this year to raise money for Help For Heroes.
Clarkson said: "Help For Heroes is just the most incredible success story.
"They do everything from building a swimming pool to completely changing the way wounded soldiers are viewed in this country and I'm very proud to support them."
He added: "I was just doing some maths and I can't believe it's the millionth. I feel like we've got a bit of history here."
The millionth Range Rover was joined on stage at Earls Court by an older cousin - the 40th Range Rover produced at the Solihull plant.
Help For Heroes CEO Bryan Parry said: "We're delighted that Land Rover has chosen to give Help for Heroes their millionth Range Rover.
"This is a real milestone in their history and so a very special donation, made even more special by knowing the money raised from the car will be able to provide much needed funds to help our wounded heroes on their road to recovery."