Forces Charities

From Shitterton to Twatt: Three friends to embark on rudest tour of UK

Two RAF veterans and their friend are hoping to raise money for a military charity.

As charity fundraising ventures go, this one is enough to make a sailor blush with words such as Shitterton, Twatt and Bell End on the agenda.

But before anyone complains about profane language, this rude-sounding list is actually a rundown of legitimate, bona fide place names of British towns and villages that two Royal Air Force veterans and their friend aim to visit as they raise money for a good cause.

And to add to the attention-grabbing cheekiness, they plan to do it while dressed as the characters Lloyd and Harry from the Jim Carrey film 'Dumb And Dumber' as they drive across the United Kingdom on what is one of the naughtiest tours of the country to the locations with the rudest place names.

The three friends' cheeky 48-hour 'Dumb & Dumber Rude Trip' in February is in aid of the charity Service Dogs UK and will see them visit many locations that might at first hearing, sound like smutty swear words but are all actually very real names for historic British locations.

The tour is similar to one carried out earlier this year by biker Paul Taylor, from Wantage, Oxfordshire, who raised thousands for charity by touring rude place names across the country on his 50cc moped, from Shitterton in Dorset to Twatt in Orkney, taking in some cheeky places such as Slack Bottom Lane, Cockshutts Lane and Sandyballs en route.

Squadron Leader (Retired) Lawson Smith, Flight Sergeant (Retired) Jack Harmer - who have 52 years of RAF service between them - and professional dog behaviourist James Conroy wanted to combine their love of dogs with helping those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sqn Ldr (Retd) Smith said:

"PTSD is something that's a horrible hidden condition that people really struggle with.

"And having known somebody who's gone through that as have the guys who are doing the trip with me, we thought let's do something about it."  

Shitterton Dorset Media Service Alamy Stock Photo Bell End karasentinel Alamy Stock Photo Twatt Kay Roxby Alamy Stock Photo
Shitterton (Picture: Dorset Media Service / Alamy Stock Photo) Bell End (Picture: karasentinel / Alamy Stock Photo) Twatt (Picture: Kay Roxby / Alamy Stock Photo).

The hope is that the "ridiculous" road trip will raise £10,000 for Service Dogs UK, a charity that rescues, trains and provides dogs to ex-armed forces and emergency service personnel suffering from PTSD. The team said:

"The help, comfort and support these dogs provide is immeasurable, and the service dogs are transforming lives, quite literally saving lives in fact."

Speaking with Richard Hatch and Jade Callaway on BFBS the Forces Station, Sqn Ldr (Retd) Smith explained further why he and his friends are taking on this bizarre challenge, saying:

"Service Dogs UK is a small charity and what we love about them is that they have a strapline which is "Changing Lives, Two At A Time ".

"So, not only do they provide people, who are struggling, with a companion dog that can spot signs of them struggling and help him through, but they do so with rescue dogs."

Squadron Leader (Retired) Lawson Smith in uniform Dumb and Dumber Rude Trip (Picture: Squadron Leader (Retired) Lawson Smith).
Squadron Leader (Retired) Lawson Smith during his RAF career (Picture: Squadron Leader (Retired) Lawson Smith).

Who is taking on the Rude Trip challenge?  

Sqn Ldr (Retd) Smith, 56, joined the Royal Air Force in 1992 and left in 2010. The AeroSystems Engineer won the Queen's Medal four times as RAF Service Rifle Champion and now provides specialist services for cars and motorbikes via his company, Powerhouse. The veteran owns three rescue pugs - Bella, Mabel and Stanley.

Flight Sergeant (Retired) Jack Harmer, 59, joined the RAF Regiment in 1979 and served for 34 years. Nine of those years were on Deployed Operations, including multiple tours of Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. The former Gunner now runs his own high-level bicycle service and fitting business, PedalTech, with Commonwealth Team GB members among his clients.

Flt Sgt (Retd) Harmer has trained working dogs for most of his life, and currently owns a whippet called Blue who is described by the veteran as "undoubtedly the fastest retriever trained dog in the UK".

Flight Sergeant (Retired) Jack Harmer during his RAF career (Picture: Flight Sergeant (Retired) Jack Harmer).
Flight Sergeant (Retired) Jack Harmer during his RAF career (Picture: Flight Sergeant (Retired) Jack Harmer).

James Conroy, 48, is a dog behaviourist. After many years of rescuing and rehabilitating dogs both in France and the UK, he established the British College of Canine Studies.

The specialist college provides home study courses and hands-on experience for canine professionals, including Veterinary Nurses, Police and Military Dog Handlers, the Fire Service and Search & Rescue teams.  

Dumb and Dumber dog car  

The car the fundraisers plan to drive has been adjusted to resemble a dog. Using light brown carpet, bath mats and traffic cones, the men have successfully managed to turn a 2004 Citroën Xsara Picasso into what looks like a dog. Sqn Ldr (Retd) Smith said:

"We make sure the front windows are completely clear. It has a fresh MOT and it's all serviced and ready to do the trip.

Is there a tail?

"There is, the tail is actually a carpet covered road cone sticking up at the back."  

Dumb and Dumber Rude Trip Squadron Leader (Retired) Lawson Smith Flight Sergeant (Retired) Jack Harmer Professional dog behaviourist James Conroy Car Dog Carpet (Picture: Squadron Leader (Retired) Lawson Smith)
The 'Dumb and Dumber Rude Trip' dog car (Picture: Squadron Leader (Retired) Lawson Smith).

If you wish you donate, visit the Dumb and Dumber Rude Trip JustGiving page.

Cover Image: The 'Dumb and Dumber Rude Trip' dog car (Picture: Squadron Leader (Retired) Lawson Smith).