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Friday, June 21, 2024

Plymouth-Dakar-Banjul challengers here again

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It is that time of the year when the roads are filled with foreign cars mostly right-hand drive splattered with banners of all sorts of charity.
They are the Plymouth- Dakar Banjul challengers, a dare devil adventurers comprising volunteers who drive cars from the UK across the Sahara desert to Banjul from various points in the UK. The adventure is controlled by a committee which auction the cars for donation to charities across the country. The Standard yesterday encountered two teams, Desert Divas and Diana’s Boys, who made the journey to Banjul.
Kate Ashdown from the Desert Divas said she came to know about Plymouth challenge when she was a little girl many years ago from her father who was an adventurer.
“Since then I had wanted to do this challenge but I had assumed it was only meant for people with lots of money.
My father died years ago and he was an adventurer so I want to carry on his spirit and that is why I took part in this challenge,” Kate who teamed up with former schoolmate Rachael said.
It took the girls 17 days through the desert from Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Senegal to finally reach Banjul. Kate said the preparations have been both hectic and exciting.
“We were completely self-sufficient and had everything organised ranging from food and other items, so it was an amazing feeling,” she added. The Desert Divas were so strong that they even had to lent hands to fellow adventurers Diana’s Boys at some point on the route.
Graham Deacon and Giles Walker are both turning 50 years and have chosen the challenge to celebrate the half-century of their lives. They both left school 37 years ago. The challenge reunited them under the name Diana’s Boys, the name of his aunt.. Deacon who have been to 22 different countries in Africa is grateful to the Desert Divas for coming to aid their on the journey. It is true they girls helped us at some point. The experience was amazing,” he said. The challengers said they have enjoyed every bit of their journey and their stay in Gambia where everyone welcomed them with smiles.
Tabora Bojang contributed to this story.

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