Charity adventurers from South Norwood driving 2,700 miles in old Mercedes Benz 190E to fundraise for children's home

Wayne Cooper and David Graaff start their 2,700 mile journey on Friday

Wayne Cooper and David Graaff start their 2,700 mile journey on Friday

First published in Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter covering Croydon

While many families will be taking a roadtrip this Easter to visit family or go on holiday, two friends will be travelling quite a bit further than most.

David Graaff (corr) and Wayne Cooper, both of Grange Hill, South Norwood, are setting off on Friday (April 11) for a 2,700 mile trip to the Mauritanian border in a Mercedes Benz 190E.

Their journey in the 22-year-old vehicle will take them through Morocco and the Western Sahara and they only have two weeks to do it in.

After making modifications to the car, including fitting a sump guard, raising the suspension and putting on some tough van tyres, the pair cannot wait to get started.

Mr Cooper, 48, said: “Both David and myself like cars and we have wanted to go on a long road trip for a long time and hopefully it will be good fun.

“We have been friends for 14 years and there will probably be a couple of arguments about driving but hopefully that will be minimal.

“We are most nervous about the roadblocks and bribery and corruption we may encounter.”

And 52-year-old Mr Graaff added: “This is a complete first time for us to do a long drive like this.

“It’s a complete adventure and there will be a couple of different elements on it ranging from the Atlas mountains to being in the desert.

“The aim is to get to Dakhla using as little tarmac as possible.”

During the trip the pair hope to raise £4,000 in sponsorship money for the Friends of Matthew Rusike Children's Home charity (MRCH) in Zimbabwe.

And when they reach the Mauritanian border in West African they plan to sell the car and give the proceeds to the charity.

Mr Graaff, who is originally from Zimbabwe, has a long standing connection to the children’s home as his parents knew Reverend Rusike and his wife when they started taking in street children in the 1950s.

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