A CLASSIC car enthusiast from Maldon organised a huge memorial parade of American cars and trucks in honour of Hollywood star Burt Reynolds.

Bradley Edwards and his girlfriend Lauren Seaman, both 21, organised a gigantic convoy of 500 vehicles to travel around the M25 in memory of the star, who sadly died on September 6, and fellow actor and musician Jerry Reed.

Mr Edwards, of Fullbridge, Maldon, has been specialising in classic car restoration and grew up an avid fan the Smokey and the Bandit films of the 1970s and 80s, all three of which starred Reynolds and Reed.

He and girlfriend Lauren, from Braintree, founded “Bandit Run UK” last year, which celebrates the legacy of the films, the first of which sees Reynolds’ Bandit hired on to run a tractor trailer full of beer over state lines in America, in hot pursuit by a pesky sheriff.

The Bandit Run serves as a reenactment of the journey taken in the first film.

The couple teamed up with Motor Show Events to organize the massive gathering, which saw the convoy stop at multiple service stations to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The convoy conducted a circuit of the M25 on Sunday, and included dozens of trucks and trailers, American muscle cars and police vehicles

Mr Edwards said: “When the news came out about Burt’s death I had a discussion with George Mathews, who owns Mini Movie Trucks UK about what we could do to pay tribute to him.

“Smokey and the Bandit is an iconic series that we as car fans have grown up with and love to pieces, so we knew it we wanted to go big and give the M25 something it had never seen before.

“We had our friends James and Karl from Motor Show Events who helped enormously with organising the largest coach spaces for us at each service station we visited.

“We stopped at the Thurrock services, and some people there said it was the largest gathering of trucks they had ever seen.”

The convoy also featured the iconic Snowman truck from the film, with American western artwork on its trailer, which is the only Snowman truck in Europe, plus several Black Pontiac Trans Am cars, driven by Reynolds in the film.

The final amount of money raised for the hospital is still being counted.

All photos supplied by Mark Ward Media