The Italian Job is bringing smiles to children, people with life-limiting conditions, and their families.

Last month Carlisle businessmen Paul Rheinbach and Angus Grant spent nine days driving a Mini Cooper through France and over the Alps to Turin. Paul, 50, is managing director of More Handles. Angus, 38, is managing director of Carlisle Brass. They visited locations used in cult 1969 film The Italian Job.

The trip bagged £10,000 in sponsorship and donations, to be divided equally between Carlisle Youth Zone, Eden Valley Hospice and CFM’s Cash For Kids.

This week Paul and Angus visited the youth zone with the Mini, to the delight of dozens of children who crowded around it.

Lynsey Buckle is the youth zone’s development manager. She said their share of the cash will help provide a memorable Christmas for hundreds of young people.

“We receive no public funding so we rely on the help of people like Paul and Angus. We’re trying to support young people who won’t be having a Christmas unless we give it to them. On December 21 we’re having a massive Christmas party for between 250 and 300 young people. We’ll have party games and presents. The things kids want for Christmas are not necessarily monetary things. They’re about time and events - things that are special. We’re going to have to take on a few extra staff over Christmas. We’ll be open as usual except on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

“We don’t want young people to be looking at people having a great Christmas when they can’t. We want to create a level playing field.”

Youth zone regulars Piper Graham, 13, and Emily Ford, 15, worked with artist Mark Gibbs to make a replica of Paul’s and Angus’s Mini. It was made from cardboard with tin foil lights. “It took a few youth zone sessions,” said Emily. “About three or four hours’ work. It was fun.”

Sara Oldham is charity executive with CFM’s Cash for Kids. The charity covers north and west Cumbria and south west Scotland.

She said: “Usually we give grants for disabled and disadvantaged children. We deal with such a wide range of children and children’s causes. It could go to individuals or groups or communities. All types of people.

“We’ve recently helped an epilepsy support group that’s just opened. They needed some help with equipment.

“We’ve helped local football and boxing clubs. The boxing club in Wigton; if it wasn’t for Cash For Kids they wouldn’t be here today. We’re coming up to Mission Christmas: making sure no child wakes up without a present. Some people think we’re just here at Christmas. But we’re an all-year-round charity. Last year we helped 16,000 children: more than 8,000 just at Christmas.”

Natalie Bingham, corporate relationship co-ordinator with Eden Valley Hospice, said their share of the money will go towards the hospice’s running costs of more than £4m a year. “We get 22 per cent of our funding from the NHS. We still need to raise about £60,000 a week. We rely on retail, legacies, events. People are living longer with more complex needs, which will have an impact on our work helping patients. We care for the whole family, not just the patient. Our nurses often get called angels.

“We host weddings at the hospice. We’ve had three in recent months. They can be arranged the day before the wedding itself. We ring around florists and have businesses donating a dress.”

All three charities thanked Paul and Angus for their help, not just with their Italian adventure but over the past few years. Paul said: “I wouldn’t hesitate to do something like this again. The enthusiasm has been wonderful. We’ve had donations from people you wouldn’t have expected. Heartwarming is the word.”