TWO Cumbrian women will set off tomorrow (May 1) for the journey of a lifetime in aid of charity.

The ‘Beijing Biddies’ are embarking upon an 8,500-mile drive from Orton’s Westmorland Hotel to Bejing at 9.30am.

Edwina Sorkin, 68, and Kate Sleath, 63, will be waved off by Ford World Rally driver Elfyn Evans, friends, family and supporters as they start their 30-day expedition, which hopes to raise £150,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK.

Ms Sorkin, who lives in Newbiggin-on-Lune, near Kirkby Stephen, said: “Our vehicle is looking quite full with all the car accessories, camping equipment and other essentials that have very kindly been donated by local companies. We have jerry cans, bottles of screen wash, oil, power steering fluid, ropes, ratchets, ladders, a folding shovel, as well as a large water container and cases of water.

“We’ve even packed 48 toilet rolls!”

The pair, who will be travelling in a donated Nissan Pathfinder 4x4, have both had experience with cancer as Ms Sorkin’s daughter Deby was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago and has benefitted from the charities.

The vehicle has been specially adapted for the trip, with off-road tyres to cope with the hostile terrain that they will encounter as they travel through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China.

In preparation for their journey, the two former neighbours have been taking courses in advanced driving skills, off road driving and car maintenance.

Ms Sleath, a car rally enthusiast, said: “We haven’t forgotten some much needed luxuries and we’ve had boxes of goodies donated that includes our favourite chocolate bars as well nuts and dried fruits.

“But with limited space we’ve had to think hard about our respective wardrobes and toiletries, so it is going to be hard to keep up our usual well-groomed appearance as we head east.”

For more information and to make a donation visit or simply text BBID60 £(your amount) to 70070.