Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

McLaren fishing challenge raises funds for charity 04 Sep 2008

Martin Locke, Heikki Kovalainen and Liam Fairhurst. © McLaren / Getty Images Martin Locke, Liam Fairhurst and Martin Whitmarsh. © McLaren / Getty Images

Earlier this week the famous circular lake at the McLaren Technology Centre was fished for the very first time. The fishermen were 13-year-old Liam Fairhurst, an ardent McLaren fan, and the team’s Finnish race driver Heikki Kovalainen.

Liam has been fighting cancer for the past three years, as well as raising money for the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent in memory of his friend, Jack Wilkinson, who died of the disease. Over the past 20 months, he has raised in excess of £250,000.

When Liam first visited McLaren’s famous Woking headquarters in July, team boss Ron Dennis was so impressed with his fund-raising abilities, that he set Liam a charity challenge. The result was that on Tuesday Liam caught 25 fish from the McLaren lake in a single hour.

Dennis had pledged £50 for every fish Liam caught, which works out at £1250. Dozens of McLaren Group employees and many of Liam's family and friends also agreed to sponsor his fishing exploits, bringing the current total for the challenge to almost £3000.

"Liam has shown great fighting spirit - both in coping with his illness and his determination to raise funds for and awareness of CLIC Sargent - which is a hugely worthwhile charity,” said Dennis. “Like myself, Liam couldn't resist a challenge and showed huge prowess with a fishing rod.

“He has earned the admiration and respect of a huge number of our employees who have stepped in to sponsor him, and the awareness raised via the internet has helped raise a significant amount of money for the charity. His efforts have been suitably rewarded and we at McLaren are proud to have played a role in his commendable fund-raising efforts."

After landing his 25 carp with the aid of fishing instructor Martin Locke (Kovalainen managed just one), Liam commented: “Thank you to everyone at McLaren who came out to watch me and added to my ever growing total. With Ron's money we are nearly up to £3000 which will make a huge difference to families like mine and this now takes my grand fundraising total to just over £278,000.”