Pair aim for African rally

PUBLISHED: 18:22 10 September 2008 | UPDATED: 14:23 10 May 2010

Alan Page meets an African snake

Alan Page meets an African snake

TWO follically challenged men will be setting off on a journey of a lifetime just after Christmas, in an old Opel Astra. Ed Butcher, 43, from Felsted, and team-mate Alan Page, from Maldon, call themselves the Smooth Heads, and are preparing for the 2008

TWO follically challenged men will be setting off on a journey of a lifetime just after Christmas, in an old Opel Astra.

Ed Butcher, 43, from Felsted, and team-mate Alan Page, from Maldon, call themselves the Smooth Heads, and are preparing for the 2008 Plymouth to Dakar rally,

The event sees teams travel across parts of Europe and Africa for three weeks, before finally selling their vehicle at the final destination to raise money for local causes.

Mr Butcher said: "Although it is a real challenge it feels like a win-win situation. We will take as much as we can and come back with a bag of clothes and a head full of memories."

The car will be loaded up with donated medical supplies and mechanical equipment that will surely be needed during the trip.

"The supplies will go straight to hospitals and the car and equipment will be auctioned off and all the money goes to local charities, schools and water wells," said Mr Butcher.

The car and its two passengers will embark on the 3700 mile journey leaving Plymouth on Boxing Day before journeying through France, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia, including three or four days in the harsh conditions of the Sahara Desert.

Mr Butcher said: "We will be celebrating New Year's Eve in Marrakech so that should be good. We just hope the car makes it."

Mr Butcher's fears about the car were realised some months back when he picked up the Astra from Penzance in Cornwall.

"It broke down an hour later," he said, "and while we were pushing it off the road the wind closed the door and broke two of my fingers, not a good start."

The Smooth Heads want more sponsorship and have set up a website at www.banjulchallenge.moonfruit.com/donatenow/4529731305 where people can donate cash.

Mr Butcher said: "All donations, large or small will be greatly appreciated as every little will help.

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