Ipswich couple's holiday guide was Buzz Aldrin, the second man on moon
PUBLISHED: 11:30 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:33 25 July 2019
As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, Ipswich's Randall Bevan remembers a very personal brush with one of the astronauts - he spent two weeks driving Buzz Aldrin around Jordan in 2003!
Former borough council director Mr Bevan is a Rolls Royce owner and enthusiast and has been on many tours with his car around the world.
His Jordanian trip in 2003 was his second to the country - the car was shipped out to the Middle Eastern kingdom before he and his wife Heather flew out for the trip.
"When we got there, we were asked if Buzz and his wife Louise could join us and they travelled with us for the two weeks of the trip," he remembers.
"They were a real joy to have with us. He was my navigator - we had a big booklet giving us instructions of where to go and he would tell me when to turn right or left. You couldn't find a better ambassador for his country than them."
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They visited internationally-renowned tourist sites during their visit to Jordan, including ancient Petra and the place on the River Jordan where Christ is thought to have been baptised by John the Baptist.
Mr Bevan said: "Buzz is a very committed Christian - he took communion as they lifted off from the moon at the start of their journey back to the earth - and I think that was one of the factors that attracted him to this trip.
"We didn't really talk about the moon trip. At one stage were driving through the desert and I said 'Does this look familiar?' He said: 'No, not really,' and that was that.
"I was a parachute instructor at one stage and we did talk about that because he was a very skilled pilot - but a lot of the time he was just telling me which way to go next!"
During their tour there were visits to places associated with Lawrence of Arabia, including a trip on a desert train and a re-enactment of a Bedouin raid that featured in David Lean's biopic of the legendary soldier.
They also visited the Royal Palace near the capital Amman: "It was a wonderful trip and to have had the company of a couple as nice as Buzz and Louise made it even more special."
He still has Buzz Aldrin's business card in his collection, but has not met up since the Jordan trip.