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Pensioners go around the world in a Suzuki Jimny
THEY made it!
Crossing 16 countries and three continents, it was dubbed the Ultimate Challenge.
With two trusty Suzuki Jimnys, they slogged it out across the globe, clocking up more than 17,000 miles in five incredible months.
Now the team of trailblazing Hampshire pensioners, with a combined age of 577, have switched off their engines for the last time – having finally reached the finishing line in New York.
After leaving from Southampton in March their marathon trip took them through Europe, Russia, Asia, and North America all in the name of a charity which reflects their silver spirit – Heaven Can Wait I’m Busy.
As previously reported, the brainchild for this epic odyssey was 73-year-old Les Carvall from Everton near Lymington.
After selling the family business he soon found he was not content with slipping into his slippers and pulling on the garden gloves each day and soon began itching for more.
But while on holiday in Greece his life took a different path when a convoy of cars taking part in the Paris to Peking rally lit a light bulb in his head – to drive around the world.
Les soon vowed to turn the trip into a fundraising expedition and was joined by other senior citizens with the same ambition to hit the road.
Accompanying him on the first stage of the journey was Charles Scott, 75, Roland Spencer, 70, and Keith Twyford, 70. They made way for Alan Butler, 76, Graham Higgins, 70, and Glyn Maher, 74, all from the Lymington area.
Glyn Maher, 75, also from the New Forest town and Roger Winkworth, 71, from Southampton, accompanied Les on the last American leg of the journey.
In all the team travelled through Belgium, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and back into Russia to Vladivostok.
Leaving Vladivostock the Jimnys undertook the first of their major sea voyages across the North Pacific Ocean, arriving in Vancouver. They then journeyed up to Anchorage in Alaska then down through Canada and the centre of North America before arriving at the finishing point in the Big Apple.
Speaking to the Daily Echo last night Les’s wife Vi, 71, said she had just spoken to him after he reached the finishing line. “The first thing he said was ‘We made it’.
“He was pleased it had all gone well. There’s been a lot of Doubting Thomases and he was determined to prove them wrong.
“He said he has been homesick for the past two weeks – and I will be relieved to have my husband back.
“We have been together since I was 16.
“Now that it has come to an end and he has achieved what he set out to do, he can settle back into a normal life – but what will be a normal life to him after this I don’t know.”
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