Intrepid postmen reach Gibraltar

A PAIR of intrepid Ipswich postmen are expected to cross the Mediterranean today as they start the next stage of their 4,000 mile charity drive. Roger Markham, 42, of Kingsgate Drive and Gary Turley, 42, of Brunswick Road reached Gibraltar two days ago after driving through snow storms and causing traffic jams in their bid to raise cash for African aid charities.

A PAIR of intrepid Ipswich postmen are expected to cross the Mediterranean today as they start the next stage of their 4,000 mile charity drive.

Roger Markham, 42, of Kingsgate Drive and Gary Turley, 42, of Brunswick Road reached Gibraltar two days ago after driving through snow storms and causing traffic jams in their bid to raise cash for African aid charities.

Their epic journey from Ipswich to Banjul started on Boxing Day. Today they are expected to get their first taste of African roads as they arrive in Morocco.

Undertaken in an imported £350 front-wheel-drive 1992 Mazda 626, the lengthy drive is expected to take about three weeks.

In touch with The Evening Star by e-mail Roger said the duo were yesterday enjoying a rest day in the British colony after a marathon drive across France and Spain.

He explained how the journey had gone so far.

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He said: "It was a very eventful journey down. We stopped overnight in Tours, in France, after a slow start.

"To catch up and get us back on time we had an 11-hour drive through the remainder of France and then into Spain."

It was when crossing the peaks of the Pyrennes mountain range, which divide Spain and France, that the pair hit bad weather.

Roger said: "We drove through very heavy snow through the Pyrennes near Bilbao. There were many abandoned cars left on the road, as well as lorries, and even a snowplough had skidded off into the central reservation.

Covering 700 miles on December 27 the pair passed through Spanish capital before arriving near Gibraltar on December 28.

"We managed to get through and made it into Madrid before causing major traffic jams in the centre by getting lost!

"We finally got to the first meeting point at Sotogrande (near Gibraltar) where we met the other teams as they arrived.

"By 9 am about 20 teams had made it but some may well be stuck around Northern Spain in the snow."

A tent, jerry cans, spare wheels sand mats and tools are among the items the friends have packed into the left-hand drive saloon car.

The route includes driving through Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. The journey will include driving through part of the western Sahara.

The organisers are hoping to collect about £60,000 by selling off the cars at the end of the rally.

To find out more about the journey and for further details visit www.plymouth-dakar.co.uk or www.geocities.com/lastposty

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