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-miles journey in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK from Tebay on 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 expedition for 16 months and have set themselves a 30-day target to complete the trip, which will see them driving without a day’s rest until they reach Beijing.

They have already raised £22,000 towards their goal of collecting £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, who waved off the duo, 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 had both completed a course in mechanics and now had 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 worldwide 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.

For more information about the trip and to donate cash visit or simply text BBID60 £(your amount) to 70070.