Driving A Honda Accross The Sahara!

PC Gordon's charity trek

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Merton PC Gordon Sinclair is to ride a Honda scooter 4,000 miles across the Sahara Desert, as part of a team delivering medical equipment and offering dental care to a remote hospital in The Gambia.

Together with 12 other bikers, including his wife Belle, he will take a month during March to traverse seven countries, the Atlas mountains, and the Sahara Desert, to donate the bikes, spares and equipment, and then help out at the Bansang Hospital on the Gambia River.

This will be the fourth such expedition, but the first for Gordon (right). He said: "It's an amazing experience for me - not just to see places that I would probably never otherwise visit, but also to ride across landscapes and through places on a very small bike, servicing it as we go, with only the tools that we carry, and making sure that they arrive in Gambia in the best possible condition for people who can really make use of them.

"I am particularly excited about this trip because I was born in Africa, as was my father and grandfather, and it's a chance for me to pass on some of the opportunities I've had here". 

The scooters will be used by medical staff to reach villages, collect blood samples, distribute medicines and hold clinics in outlying areas.  

The Gambian Health Service strives to provide basic medical services across their communities. In 1992, British woman Anita Smith decided to help improve conditions for infants and children at the hospital, and extend the reach of the general medical care offered. She began fundraising, and in 1997 the official Bansang Hospital Appeal Charity was registered with the UK Charity Commission.

Since then, a fully equipped 80 bed children’s unit has been opened and the hospital now also treats adults, reaching out to the wider population, offering medical help and health advice.

The role of the scooters is crucial, offering increased access and mobility. Other major achievements to date include the installation of solar power and the provision of an obstetric operating theatre. 

When they arrive, the riders will spend a week using their individual skills to fix, build, clean or work in the hospital, doing whatever is needed.

They have each raised all of the money for the trip and the bikes themselves, and will also donate their riding gear - helmets, trousers, jackets, boots, gloves and tools to the hospital for locals to use, but they are hoping to raise additional funds for the hospital.

PC Sinclair, a police officer for 28 years and now based in the Safer Merton Team at The Civic Centre in Morden, said: " There is so much more that they need and we're trying to raise what we can to pay for some oxen, seeds and farming equipment so that a field, already donated, can be cultivated to feed the patients.

"We'd be very grateful for any donations - large or small - to help make that happen. You can help us in any currency - euros, yen, dinari, dollars, pounds - whatever you want. Thanks from all the team!" 

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February 9, 2012