A 75-YEAR-OLD petrolhead is set to embark on a European rally with her daughter — taking on mountain passes and city streets as they race through ten countries in ten days.

Eileen Breeze and Claire Laidler are taking part in the Rally for Heroes, an annual fundraiser for the SSAFA armed services charity.

Following a spectacular start at Horse Guards Parade, London — "we'll be able to wave at the Queen," said Eileen — they will drive through France, Switzerland, Italy, Solvenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Austria, Germany and Luxembourg.

The event was co-founded in 2010 by Claire's husband, Benn Laidler, who has served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Eileen, of Magdalen Crescent, Cowes, said she couldn't wait to don her driving gloves and hit the road in her Mercedes SLK.

"My father and his sister were members of the Midland Automobile Club and regularly competed in rallies and hill climbs in their MG Midget. I love cars and was brought up with them, driving sitting on my dad's lap," she said.

"This will be a challenge but what an opportunity. You have to embrace these things, don't you?"

Eileen has already had some practice — she was treated to a track day on her 70th birthday, where she hit 130mph in an Aston Martin and Mercedes Atom.

"I'm only 5ft 2ins so it was hard to reach the pedals but it was fantastic. When you're in a nice car, it's just lovely. You get that adrenaline going, it's exhilarating."

Claire, 44, who lives near Yeovil with Benn, 42, — currently based at Yeovilton Royal Naval Air Station — and their children, said: "Mum was totally bowled over when I asked her to be my co-driver and jumped at the chance. It really is a dream come true for her, as she has always wanted to do it.

"We are both passionate about supporting our armed forces and raising money for SSAFA. It's a fantastic charity that does so much for serving personnel, veterans and their families."

It will be their first Rally for Heroes, although they have supported the event since the beginning and Eileen has organised several fundraisers on the Island.

The next one will be a family fun day with a teddy zip wire, Ability Dogs 4 Young People demonstrations, Wolfguard Vikings re-enactments, a bouncy castle and trampolines.

It will be held at Cowes Community Club on Sunday, May 13, from 11am to 4pm.

Fellow Islanders Clive and Sue Ford will also be taking part in the Rally for Heroes for the second time in their TVR Sagaris.

You can support Eileen and Claire's fundraising effort at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/ClaireAndEileen