Duo set off on epic journey from Keynsham to Cape Town for charity

Published on: 03 Apr 2015

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Two Keynsham men have set off on a four-month-long journey that will take them 18,000 miles from their hometown to Cape Town in South Africa.

After more than a year of planning, Mike White, 27,  and James Ellis, 21, left Keynsham on March 22 in the LandRover Defender 110 that will be their home for the duration of the epic trip.

The pair, both former 1st Keynsham Scouts and Wellsway pupils, were waved off from Scout HQ at Ashton Way by friends and family.

The Key2Africa challenge, which will take them through around 20 countries in Europe and Africa, has been inspired by the work of Joshua Orphan and Community Care in Malawi, a small charity that has built schools, feeding centres and drilled boreholes to support isolated rural communities.

Mike and James will be getting involved with these projects when they reach Malawi on their way to South Africa, and their supporters learned more about the charity when representatives attended a farewell celebration for the duo on March 21 and gave a talk on their work.

The vehicle Mike and James will be driving is fully equipped with a roof tent, fridge, storage compartments, CB radio and even a homemade “washing machine” – a plastic container fixed to the roof. Many supporters have donated equipment as the pair worked on modifying the vehicle, including a number of local firms.

Moments before setting off from Keynsham, Mike said:  “It doesn't seem real at the moment. We’ve spent most weekends over the past 18 months preparing and now we are going. I think the hardest part will probably be border crossings and overcoming language barriers as we explain what we are doing.”

James’ father John said: “It’s a tremendous thing they are doing. We listened to them talking about the charity last night, which is a very localised charity with people giving up a lot of time to go out and work.”

Proud mum Linda Stafford added that friends and family, including James’ younger brother Alistair, would be keeping a close eye on the pair’s progress via Facebook, Twitter and the blogs they will be writing for their website www.key2africa.org.uk.

At their leaving party, Mike and James raised £600 and are continuing to collect more funds for the charity en route via their fundraising page http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/key2africa.

They plan to reach Cape Town by early August.

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