A TEAM of childhood school friends are taking part in a 2,000-mile banger rally to celebrate their 40th birthdays and support a good cause.

The four pals have been planning the road trip from Southampton to Rome for two years and will be raising cash for Cancer Research UK.

The friends, who call themselves The Billies, took a white 1995 Ford Mondeo worth less than £150, and painted it black with yellow go-faster stripes and plastered in spoof sponsorship stickers.

The trip starts in Southampton and will take car enthusiasts Kevin Browne, Simon Stevens, Russ Gibbs and Eddie Boutland to Calais where they will join the 69 other teams in the Home to Rome rally and make their way through central France, Monaco, the Italian Alps and Venice before reaching their final destination on Friday where the car will be scrapped.

Kevin said: “This will be fantastic as we all get on so well and have a great laugh.

“It’s a real once in a lifetime trip but I don’t think my wife would let me go again.

“There will be challenges and adventures in the rally. It will be loads of fun provided the car can get us there.”