TWO women who are preparing to embark on the adventure of a lifetime have been learning skills that will help them steer clear of trouble.

Great grandmother Edwina Sorkin, 68, of Kirkby Stephen, and Kate Sleath, 63, of Wetherby, plan to drive more than 8,500 miles from Yorkshire to China and raise £150,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK.

Calling themselves the ‘Beijing Biddies’, the pair have been back to the classroom to learn vehicle maintenance and off-road driving in preparation for their trip which begins on May 1.

“We have been overwhelmed by the generous support we have received from businesses and individuals in Cumbria, Yorkshire and other parts of the country,” said Mrs Sorkin, a retired international businesswoman.

Since the charity drive launch in October, the pair have received a Nissan Pathfinder, donated by RCI Financial Services (trading as Nissan Finance), and a Toyota Land Cruiser, donated by Redline Specialist Cars.

It was important that the vehicles were mechanical, rather than electronic as many modern cars now are, so that if anything goes wrong while we are abroad, the local mechanics out there will be able to fix it.”

The vehicles have been specially adapted for the epic journey, with off-road tyres and other special features to cope with the hostile terrain they will encounter as they travel through Northern and Eastern Europe, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia en route to China.

The pair decided to take on the challenge after witnessing first hand the life-changing impact Macmillan and Cancer Research UK has had on cancer patients and their families.

Mrs Sorkin’s daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, and mum-of-two Mrs Sleath, a former competitive rally driver, has had friends and family supported by the charity.

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