A DETERMINED dad set off on Saturday from Balloch on a mammoth drive to Africa – to raise much-needed funds for the charity that cared for his terminally ill son.

Jonathan Kelly and his brother Phil are making the journey to the Sahara Desert in a Smart Car decorated to look like a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.

The pair have already smashed their £10,000 target, raising more than £15,600 for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), which runs Robin House, where Jonathan’s son, Rafferty, was cared for.

The pair were waved off from the Balloch hospice in fitting style by Bo Cox, who uses Robin House, and Jonathan’s sons Drummond and Wilf – all driving their own Cozy Coupes.

Jonathan said: “We’re overwhelmed we have smashed our £10,000 fundraising target and can’t thank our friends, family and the public enough for their generosity.”

Jonathan and his wife Lynne used Robin House in 2014, when Rafferty was diagnosed with Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

He was looked after by Great Ormond Street Hospital staff before being transferred for end-of-life care to Robin House, where the family spent three weeks together before Rafferty sadly died at nine weeks old.

Jonathan and his brother came up with the idea of the trip to thank the staff, who supported them in their time of need. He added: “For the three weeks we stayed at Robin House until Rafferty’s funeral, we were able to make memories that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible as a family. Robin House made an awful time in our lives easier than it could have been.”

The Kellys’ journey will last around a week and take them through France and Spain before travelling by ferry to Morocco and down to the western Sahara.

The pair will drive to Gibraltar as part of an organised charity banger rally before making the remainder of the journey on their own, in a vehicle sure to attract attention.

Jonathan Clegg, community fundraiser at CHAS, said: “We rely on the generosity of the public to fund our services and we’re encouraging the local community to get behind Team Cozy Coupe.”

To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/teamcozycoupe