Wetherby woman Kate Sleath is hitting the road again for a third and final charity challenge…driving around Britain in a Tuk Tuk to raise money to help the fight against children’s cancers.
Kate will be part of the Beijing Biddies team of four women as they aim to cover 1100 miles in 16 days in two motorised three-wheeled rickshaws, stopping off to visit cancer centres and hospitals on a route that will take them around England and into Scotland and Wales.
Driving at an average speed of just 20 miles an hour for six or seven hours a day, they will set off from Carlisle on Tuesday, May 2 for their last challenge in aid of the UK’s two leading cancer charities, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Kate, aged 66, will again be joined by her friend, Yorkshire-born and bred Edwina Sorkin (71), who lived and worked in Yorkshire until moving to Cumbria five years ago. The other two members of the team are Helen Stobart (51) and Liz Tinkler (50), who also live in Cumbria. The women will take turns to drive the two Tuk Tuks in a round trip that will start and finish at Carlisle, with stop-offs in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester.
It is almost three years to the day since Edwina and Kate, calling themselves the Beijing Biddies, drove from the UK to the Chinese capital in just 29 days for the two cancer charities. The pair met up and became friends when they were neighbours in Wetherby.
Last year they were joined by Helen and Liz plus Kerrie Ellison to drive from Carlisle to the Arctic Circle with no overnight stops, completing that challenge in four days.
So far they have raised almost £80,000 for the charities and are aiming to reach over £100,000 with their latest challenge.
Kate said: “This is perhaps our craziest challenge yet. These little Tuk Tuks are great fun but they take skill and a lot of concentration to drive them as we intend to – all day and to a strict timetable.”
The team will stick to Britain’s A and B roads in the 198cc vehicles, taking them through towns and villages where they are hoping to create quite a stir.
Team leader Edwina said: “ We want people to come out and cheer us on and, hopefully, donate to our two charities. To see a child or a young person suffering from cancer is really hard. That’s why every penny that we raise on this challenge will go to help kids and teens, so the more people that we can reach on our journey, the more money we can raise to fight this terrible disease.”
The main sponsor of the challenge is Tuk Tuk UK, the country’s largest importers of auto rickshaws, which is based in Cheshire.
Tuk Tuk UK director, Robert Leggett, who donates 20 per cent of his company’s profits to charitable causes, said: “We are delighted to support the Beijing Biddies in their Tuk Tuk challenge and we wish them all the best on their journey. These little vehicles are developing into quite a craze in this country, so the team certainly won’t go unnoticed as they travel around Britain’s roads!”
The team also has the backing of Glossop Caravans, who are donating free use of a £38,000 motorhome, which would cost around £5,000 to hire, as a backup vehicle where the team will eat and sleep, plus The Camping and Caravanning Club who are offering free overnight stops at their campsites.
Stan and Brian Laing, joint managing directors of Glossop Caravans, said: “We’re delighted to be backing the fantastic Beijing Biddies in their 2017 challenge to raise much-needed cash for UK charities supporting children with cancer and their families. We look forward to meeting them when they visit the North West and call in at our headquarters on the fringe of the Peak District and wish them every success in their third and final fund-raising campaign.”
Natasha Patel, local fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK, said: “Our scientists and nurses look forward to welcoming the Beijing Biddies team at Cancer Research UK centres during their epic Tuk Tuk trek. The money they raise will allow Cancer Research UK’s doctors, nurses and scientists to advance vital research which is helping to save the lives of boys, girls, men and women in Cumbria, Yorkshire and across the UK.”
Sue McDonald of Macmillan Cancer Support said: “At Macmillan, we are thrilled to continue our involvement with the Beijing Biddies. The forthcoming challenge will really test their mettle whilst raising much needed sponsorship to help local cancer patients who often find every day a challenge!”
For more information visit www.beijingbiddies.co.uk