THREE pals will make an epic car journey across two continents, 17 countries, six time zones and five seas – all in the name of charity.
Edwina Cassim, 22, Jonathan Carey, 23, and James Pattison, also 23, who are all originally from Hartlepool, will drive a second-hand Hyundai Accent from London’s Goodwood Park to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.
The mammoth trip is being made as part of The Mongol Rally, which will see 180 teams from around the world drive 10,000 miles through deserts, mountain ranges and towns as they head to Mongolia to raise money for the Christina Noble Foundation.
The friends are flying the flag for Hartlepool as they have named their team The Shantastics, in honour of the town slang term for “unfair”.
The aim is for each team to raise at least £500 in sponsorship for the charity, which helps vulnerable children in Vietnam and Mongolia.
They must also raise at least £500 for their chosen charity, the Human Relief Foundation, which provides emergency relief aid and help to third-world countries.
Edwina, who is formerly from the Raby Road area of town but is now a care worker based in Cambridge, said: “The brief is that we have to use an ‘unsuitable’ car and we got this one for about £700 off eBay.
“It has about 48,000 miles on the clock and is in pretty good condition.
“We have done lots of preparation and had to research how to get our visas and documents, as well as find a car.”
The former Brierton School and Hartlepool Sixth Form College student added: “I’m so excited.
“It’s such a unique travelling experience not many people get the opportunity to do.
“Some days are going to be hard and there will be challenges we will have to face like what to do if the car breaks down in the middle of the desert, and negotiating border controls.
“We are all skilled in different areas. I have first aid skills through my job, and James and Jonathan have their engineering skills.”
Edwina, computer engineer Jonathan and engineer James, who both went to English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College and now live in Leeds, will travel through 17 countries including France, Holland, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Russia and Kazakhstan before reaching their destination.
They will either be camping along the way or staying in hotels, which they have funded themselves so every penny of sponsorship goes to charity.
The trio will set off from Goodwood Park on July 23 and expect to get to Mongolia in about four weeks.
They will spend a few days in Ulaanbaatar before flying back to the UK. The cars used will be auctioned off, raising even more money for the cause.
To sponsor the friends, visit www.justgiving.com/shantastics-hrf.