THE self proclaimed Beijing Biddies have set off on their five week charity drive from Cumbria to China.

Edwina Sorkin, 68, and Kate Sleath, 63, embarked upon their intrepid 8,500 mile journey in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK from Tebay on yesterday (May 1).

Ms Sorkin, who lives in Newbiggin on Lune, near Kirkby Stephen, said: “I’m excited and the car’s all packed but I shall miss my family, my dogs and life’s little luxuries like good food and wine.”

The pair have been preparing for the drive for 16 months and have set themselves a 30 day challenge which will see them driving without a day’s rest until they reach Beijing.

Already having raised £22,000, they hope to reach their target of £150,000 for the two cancer charities.

Ms Sorkin’s daughter Deby was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago and has benefited from the help of both Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK.

Ford World Rally driver Elfyn Evans was there to wave the duo off.

He said: “It’s a massive challenge and I really wish them all the best.

“It will be extremely tiring for them but it will be really impressive.”

They will travel through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China in a donated Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 which will be shipped back and sold in the UK to raise more cash.

“When we get there I think I’ll collapse in a spa,” added Ms Sorkin.

Ms Sleath, a self confessed ‘petrol head’, said: “We’ll probably drink champagne and I imagine we’ll be on a real high!”

She added that they have both completed a course in mechanics and now have a basic understanding but could not cope if something major went wrong.

They will stay in hotels on the way and make visits to cancer charities, handing out leaflets in different languages.

“It’s a world wide disease and we want to raise awareness everywhere we go,” said Ms Sorkin.

In tow will be two members of Cumbria TV in another vehicle who will film the adventure for a documentary.

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