THE Mayor of Malvern, Ian Hopwood, will be driving to twin town Marianske Lazne next year to raise money for a local children’s hospice.

Councillor Hopwood will be making the 800-mile trip to the Czech Republic in April, along with Mark Young, of the Malvern Civic Society.

The mayor’s visit follows last month’s official signing of a partnership agreement between the two towns which was the culmination of several years of work by the civic society.

Coun Hopwood said: “It is my intention to drive there and to meet all travel and accommodation expenses myself. I will seek sponsorship for the journey and all money raised will go to Acorns Children’s Hospice.”

The mayor chose the hospice as his charity for his term of office. So far he had raised more than £3,400 through events such as a mayor’s bonanza and the Christmas lights switch-on.

The pair will also be taking presentation packs of locally-made beer with them as gifts.

Coun Hopwood said: “I’ll be visiting between April 10 and 20 and we’ll be taking a non-motorway route all the way there, although we’ll probably use motorways on the way back.”

He said that they will probably take the ferry to Calais and drive from there to Marianske Lazne.

“It should be good fun and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

The mayor is planning a launch in January when sponsorship forms will be made available.

This week Malvern town councillors voted by nine to six, with four abstentions, to allow council staff to provide administration, publicity and banking support to a value of £100.

Some councillors felt that this compromised the council’s stated intention to spend no money on twinning, but others said they were supporting a charitable endeavour by the mayor.