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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Barrow cop hoping Mongol Rally will help raise hordes of cash

A POLICE officer is driving 10,000 miles to Mongolia to raise funds for a cancer charity.

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MONGOLIA-BOUND Alan Hempton and PC Dave Edwards, right, and the Skoda Felicia they bought for £600. Above, the route the drivers will take on the 10,000 mile trip from Ulverston to Ulan Batorsubmitted pictures

PC Dave Edwards, 30, who is based in Barrow, will be joined by three friends on the Mongol Rally which they hope to complete in 28 days. They will pass through mountains, deserts, and some of the most remote terrain on the planet to end up in Ulan Bator.

PC Edwards will be joined by Alan Hempton, 30, from Preston, Gilbey Crilley, 30, from Blackpool, and Don McLester, 51, from South Carolina. They plan to complete the journey in a Skoda Felicia they bought from eBay for £600.

Their trip will take them through places such as the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.

“The thing I’m most worried about is getting home on time for work,” PC Edwards said. “We’ve worked out we need to drive on average 700km a day to make it to the finish line on time.”

Their trip begins on July 19 and they hope to raise £5,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care in the process.

“We’ve done things like this in the past to raise money for Marie Curie in memory of Alan’s dad, who lost his long battle to cancer in 2009,” PC Edwards said.

In 2011, PC Edwards, Mr Hempton and Mr Crilley, who call themselves Plan F, raised £4,000 driving from the top to the bottom of Peru as part of an adventure called the Motortaxi Junket. They won an award for the most money raised, and also for the most breakdowns.

Mr McLester owns a bright yellow school bus which he drives around the world with his wife, Sarah. He got in touch with Mr Edwards after hearing about Plan F’s adventure in Peru, and asked if he could join them on the Mongol Rally.

The team are holding a competition to raise as much money as possible. A lucky winner will be chosen from the names of people who have sponsored them online, and the team will create a life-sized cardboard cutout of that person which they will take with them on their journey.

PC Edwards said: “We love travelling and adventure and raising money is a massive part of it all. If we can raise as much as we did in Peru that would be amazing.”

The idea to raise money in the first place arose on a train in India in 2011, when PC Edwards and Mr Hempton jokingly said they would love to raise £10,000 for Marie Curie. Between Peru and holding events in the UK, they have so far raised £6,000 and are optimistic they will reach their target by the end of this trip.

PC Edwards said: “We don’t make plans and we’ll just take things as they come. We are a bit concerned about all the civil unrest that is going on in some of the places we pass through – I just hope we don’t end up on BBC news.”

“The Mongol Rally is all about getting a load of like-minded people together to do something different to raise as much money for charity as possible. We can’t wait.”

The group will be updating their blog throughout the 28 days, which can be found at www.planf.co.uk. Donations can be made at http://www.justgiving.com/planf.

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