Taxi to Sydney, Guv’nor?

Globetrotting Boston Spa design engineer Johno Ellison and his two fellow travellers have had a pretty uneventful taxi ride to Australia so far.

Unless you count being arrested in Moscow, detained as suspected spies in Iran and appearing as extras in a Bollywood movie as eventful!

In an exclusive message to this newspaper – they did promise to keep in touch – Johno reports: “Our expedition is going pretty good - we’ve just broken 20,000 miles and are about to leave India, our 32nd country.

“Over the last six months we have been arrested in Moscow, acted in a Bollywood film in India and been detained as suspected spies in Iran.

“The car has had its fair share of problems - the radiator blew up in Iraq and the monsoon rains mean rust is trying to eat away everywhere.”

Johno, 27, and two mates from university, Paul Archer and Leigh Purnell, both aged 23, are driving from London to Sydney, a bit of a trek at around 30,000 miles.

Since their 18-year-old hackney carriage had already been round the clock when they bought it they reckoned it would take another 30,000 miles in its stride – and the venerable black cab is doing its best, as pictures Johno sent to the Wetherby News clearly show.It looks like it could do with a wash, though monsoon rains were useful in that regard.

Johno, who lives in Boston Spa and works for a Harrogate engineering company - when he’s not busy driving to Australia - organised the expedition in a bid to raise £20,000 for the British Red Cross and they are visiting Red Cross projects on the way.

At the same time he hopes to shatter the previous record for a long haul London taxi trip, currently a mere 20,000 miles from London to Cape Town, South Africa.

Their epic, eight month journey began in Hyde Park, London, in February and has so far taken them through Europe and Scandinavia, then on to Russia, North Africa, Pakistan and India. Next stop is China, before taking a ferry to Sydney.

Readers wishing to pledge support for their fundraising bid can do so via their website: justgiving.com/itsonthemeter

Clearly, it’s just as well this taxi ride is not on the meter!