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FOR YEARS, Heather and Colin Maddox yearned to take off on an adventure of a lifetime. Now they’re doing it – the hard way, overland to Mongolia and in a n old VW Beetle.

“We’ve always wanted to do something wild and exciting,” says Heather, who with Colin run the Aline Mobility stores in Widnes and St Helens.

“But there’s always been something to stop us.”

Well, nothing’s stopping them now!

The couple have just chugged into Kazakhastan in their 1971 VW Baja Beetle bound for Ulan Bator!

They’d seen the Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s The Long Way Round TV films, which featured their round the world tour on motorbikes, and then the Marco Polo series, and thought ‘why not us?’

An internet search led them to the Mongol Rally – an annual 20,000-mile return adventure – and the decision was made.

“We’re doing it for ourselves and for the Clair House Children’s Hospice, which we have worked with for ages,” said Heather.

“We know it all might seem mad, but it’s something we really want to do, and we will be taking every care of ourselves – and ‘Betty’, our beautiful Beetle.

“We asked our daughter, Emily (15), to join us but she’s preferred to stay at home with her grandparents!

“Instead of Emily, we’re taking ‘Baby Betty’ – an old toddler’s play car, which we found abandoned in a skip. We’ve cleaned it up and are donating it to the UNICEF project while we are in Mongolia.”

Heather, a former veterinary nurse, and Colin, a former lift engineer, have been together for more than 20 years after meeting as students of Rainford High School, have a passion for classic cars and motorbikes.

Heather, 40, said: “We bought Betty last year especially for the Rally, and decided not to respray her. She’s like a patchwork quilt.

“We’re sharing the driving to Mongolia, but I’ll be flying back.

“I’ll be away for five weeks, but I’m not expecting to see Colin for another six weeks or so.

“We will have no help on the way, no GPS, no back-up vehicle, no breakdown cover, just us out in the big wide world – with a tent – to fend for ourselves.”

Their journey has taken them through France, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. Next stop, Mongolia.

“We chose the Claire House charity as it’s very close to our hearts. What they do to support the families of terminally ill children is unbelievable.

“All donations are gratefully received, including items for raffle and tombola prizes.”

To donate go to justgiving.com/fundraising/Betty-Maddox

To follow their progress go to Facebook – Betty Maddox or visit www.theadventurists.com