Two Merseyside bikers are enjoying the ride of their lives after setting off on a mammoth motorcycle challenge to South Africa in aid of Claire House Children’s Hospice.
Derek Charlton and Paul Gee are undertaking an incredible 10,000-mile motorbike journey from Merseyside to Cape Town.
The pair want to raise money for Claire House – their local children’s hospice, which supports seriously and terminally ill children and their families.
Wirral dad Derek said while he and friend Paul are both avid motorcyclists, this is their biggest, and toughest, adventure on the road yet.
“Paul and I have never done anything like this before.
“We decided to go via the west coast, which is one of the most difficult routes, because of the terrain and certain countries.
“We know it’s going to be challenging, but we thought ‘let’s take on the challenge’. If we can also raise some funds for children and young people who are seriously ill, and for some children who are not expected to live to be an adult, then it will push us on when the going gets tough.”
Derek, 58, from Heswall, decided to embark on a challenge because he couldn’t attend the annual Wirral Egg Run, which sees thousands of bikers ride across Wirral in order to raise money for good causes.
After months of planning, and with their bikes loaded up for the long journey, Derek and Paul were waved off from the Wirral by friends and family on January 2.
So far, they have endured floods in France, as well as strong winds and plenty of sand on their way to Western Sahara.
Derek, a director at a property letting company in Wirral, said:
“My, it’s windy! Especially when on the only road leading to Mauritania. The cross wind has me permanently at a lean. However, despite that we have had fun.
“The people in Morocco and Western Sahara are the friendliest on the planet. We have a laugh with every petrol attendant when they ask where we are going. They all just think we are mad.”
With thousands of miles ahead, borders to cross, and a Nigerian visa expiry date to chase, the fundraising duo still have a way to go.
Dad-of-two Paul, a 55-year-old building contractor from Barnston, said:
“I’ll fix the bike and he’s great at the paperwork.
“The visas have been a nightmare, that’s been the worst part so far.”
The epic journey could take until April to complete, however the bike fanatics said helping Claire House is spurring them on.
Hannah Shannon, Head of Communications at Claire House Children’s Hospice, said:
“We are really grateful because we will be able to reach more children who desperately need our help because of people like Paul and Derek.
“They are going on this massive journey in aid of Claire House and it’s brilliant they are doing this amazing challenge to raise money for such a good cause.
“We are excited to find out about their journey and how they get on. And we wish them all the very best.”
For more about Derek and Paul’s challenge, visit: Derek Charlton is fundraising for Claire House Children’s Hospice (justgiving.com)
You can also find out more about Claire House on their website.