Thursday, July 3, 2014

From Shrewsbury to Mongolia . . . in a £100 Micra

What she didn't expect was that, four years down the line, she would be bumping her way to Mongolia in a converted Nissan Micra and taking part in a charity road race.

Her bed would be a converted boot, showering would be a distant memory and living under the stars would become a way of life.

Holidays to the Grand Canyon, Mont Blanc and Peru should have prepared her for the somewhat odd request to take part in the Mongol Rally, but even Leanne, who is a police constable based at Monkmoor in Shrewsbury, was somewhat taken aback by Greg's slightly unusual proposal.

But they say that love can make people do anything and in Leanne's case this is true.

Car mechanic Greg, 31, will set off next month from London in a battered Nissan Micra, which he bought from his next door neighbour for £100 and has spent the past few months titivating, tinkering and souping up, and will drive through Europe to Hungary.

Meanwhile, a couple of weeks later, Leanne, 30, will finish her night shift at Shrewsbury town centre police station, jump on a plane and meet Greg in Budapest. - the capital of Hungary.

The couple will then race, as fast as they can, for the finishing line in Mongolia - home to Genghis Khan and The Silk Road.

Leanne, from Shrewsbury, said: "Greg has a very adventurous side to him, hence why we have been on holiday to Peru, New Zealand, Mont Blanc and the Grand Canyon. He is also a mechanic and loves anything to do with cars.

"One night he came back home and said to me about the Mongolian Rally and did I fancy doing it.

"Basically you drive to Mongolia in a battered car and raise money for a charity called Cool Earth.

"I managed to get three weeks off work and Greg will have already gone part of the way when I join him. After we meet in Budapest we will then drive on to Romania."

But this is a car rally with a difference. Many of the vehicles will be old bangers, there is no pre-determined route or border crossings and there is no back up.

For 10,000 miles and across 20 countries, Greg and Leanne, who have been sponsored by Greenhous Nissan and Manchester-based shopfitting firm Equity, will only have each other for support - both moral and physical until they cross the finishing line in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital.

"Although this is a big organised rally, it is still pretty basic," said Leanne. "The cars are old and have to be under 1000cc and I think some scooters and motorbikes take part.

"Greg has been working on the Micra to make sure it is up to the journey and also just to clean it up a bit. It had mould growing on the floor when we bought it. But I don't think it is going to be a luxurious trip. We just want to raise what we can for Cool Earth."

And after this trip, Leanne adds: "We have been together four years, we have travelled a lot and done a lot of great things together, including kayaking in Russia. I just hope that life is always going to be this exciting."

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