A vintage car and rugby enthusiast from Corsham is to drive more than 5,988 miles to Japan for the opening of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Christopher Blakey, 68, of Park Place, Park Lane, hopes to arrive in Tokyo in time for the opening match between Japan and Russia on Friday, September 20.

Mr Blakey will be driving his vintage 1937 three-seater Austin Seven car on a route that will take him across Europe and Russia to Japan.

He said: “I hope to make it in time for the opening match and will be staying for England’s first game against Tonga on Sunday, September 22.

“What is fantastic is the amount of support I am getting from people across Russia and the Russian automobile club.”

He left Corsham today with his wife Helen and son Arthur, 12, who will be keeping him company for the first two weeks of the epic journey.

The first leg of the trip will see him driving to Hull, where he will catch a cargo ship to the Finnish capital Helsinki for the Baltic Sea crossing to St Petersburg in Russia.

When he gets to Russia, he will drive to Moscow, where he will pick up a Russian friend whom he met in Corsham.

He has also been invited to be the lead car in the GUM Rally Show from the Red Square in Moscow on July 23.

His marathon drive across Asia is being supported by the Russian AutoMotor Club (RAMC) and Russian rugby clubs.

Mr Blakey was given a rousing send off by enthusiasts at the Austin Seven National Rally at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu last Sunday.

He has set up a new celebratethe7 blog for those who wish to follow his journey to Tokyo.

To follow his adventures on Twitter, Facebook and the web go to https://twitter.com/celebratethe7 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/celebratetheseven/

Website: http://www.celebratetheseven2019.org/