Seats up for grabs on charity drive to London

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 April, 2008, 12:00am


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On June 14, an ambitious crew of four locals will climb into their SUVs, bid farewell to loved ones, and head towards the Shenzhen border.

If all goes according to plan, they will step out on to the streets of London one month later after driving 25,000km through some of the most remote parts of Asia - all in the name of fun and charity.

And, for those without summer vacation plans, a few seats are still available.

Bobby Man Wai-hung is co-ordinating the 'Drive for Hope' project, which will take his team across the mainland to Kazakhstan, to Russia, through Europe to France and finally to Britain. He has driven to Tibet a few times before, but this is his most ambitious trip.

The team members are packing a supply of food and water but won't be roughing it completely - they plan to stay in motels or hotels every night for safety. Mr Man described their trip as 'backpacking on the road'.

'We'll have tour guides escort us to the border when we get to Kazakhstan and Russia, but these two places are the only worries we have on our safety,' he said.

The team members have planned a five-day drive in Kazakhstan until they arrive at the Russian border for another two-day drive on to Belarus.

'I'm not worried once we get to Poland,' he said.

Mr Man said he had been planning this trip for four years and the route chosen would be the safest and the fastest way to get to London by road.

He added that it would be too dangerous and time-consuming to go from the west through Iran and India.

Mr Man said they had aimed to arrive in London by ferry on July 14, after celebrating France's national day in Paris.

The team, however, will not drive back to Hong Kong. After a short stay in London they will fly back home on July 23 and ship the vehicles by sea.

'We don't have that much time to drive back,' Mr Man said.

The project has so far attracted only four members, and Mr Man said the team was still recruiting any interested parties in good shape to join them. Inquiries for more details can be made through the website HK-4x4.com.

'I hope they can contact me by the end of this month,' Mr Man said.

He said each member had paid HK$120,000 for food, accommodation and airfares.

Mr Man hoped to raise a total of HK$600,000 for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

The group is taking part in an arts auction at Cafe des Artistes on May 25, for which 25 artists from Fo Tan Arts Village have donated their work for this charity project.

The Drive for Hope campaign was founded in 2002 and funds raised have gone to improve the livelihood of people in Tibet and remote mountain villages in Yunnan .