Merseyside friends motorbiking to South Africa for Claire House Children's Hospice

Video report by ITV Granada Reports journalist Jennifer Buck

Two motorbike enthusiasts have set off on an epic 10,500 ride from the North West of England to Cape Town in aid of their local children's hospice.

Derek Charlton and Paul Gee set off from Merseyside on 2 January and are expected to arrive in the South African capital sometime in April 2024.

They have taken on the challenge to raise money for Claire House, a children's hospice who provide end-of-life care and offer support for families affected.

Claire House Children's Hospice

Derek decided to take on the 10,500 mile ride because he could not attend the annual Wirral Egg Run, an event involving thousands of bikers riding through towns and villages collecting Easter eggs and raising money for charities.

"I just thought I can't make it this year I'm going to be somewhere in Africa, so it's quite fitting," said Derek.

Paul explained: "I am useless at paperwork, but I'll fix the bike and he's great at the paperwork.

"The visas have been a nightmare, that's been the worst part so far."

The motorbikes loaded up for the 4 month journey Credit: ITV News

Derek said: "We decided to go via the west coast, which is one of the most difficult routes, because of the terrain and certain countries.

"You never know what is going to happen en-route as there's a lot of borders, but it is challenging and we just thought 'why not, lets give it a go, let's take on the challenge"

Even prior to setting off, changes to their route began appearing. This included not being able to get into Gabon so having to go through the Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

As well as a petrol storage explosion in Guinea which has caused a fuel shortage in that stretch.

"We've both in training for this we've been on guided tours in the Himalayas and Vietnam, and done some off road riding, but nothing quite like this challenge," said Derek.

Hannah Shannon from Claire House said: "We are really grateful because we can only keep the doors of the hospice open because of people like Paul and Derek who are doing this amazing challenge to raise money for such a good cause.

"We are excited to find out about their journey, how they get along and we wish them all the very best."

You can find more on Derek and Paul's challenge here.

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