Hoteliers’ three wheel charity mission

Hoteliers Ben Atkinson and Karen Burns are driving a Reliant Robin from Blackpool to Timbuktu (below).
Hoteliers Ben Atkinson and Karen Burns are driving a Reliant Robin from Blackpool to Timbuktu (below).

THIS car is more used to carrying Del Boy and Rodney’s knock-off goods around the streets of Peckham than a trip to the Sahara.

But two plucky hoteliers plan to take it out of its comfort zone and do the Only Fools and Horses duo proud by travelling 6,000 miles in their three-wheeled Reliant Robin.



Ben Atkinson and Karen Burns, owners of the Bond Hotel, South Shore, will tackle the gruelling drive to raise money for people with Multiple Sclerosis.

The ambitious trek - in a car which does not always live up to its reliant name - is also being used to raise money to build a hospital in Mali.

After setting off from their South Shore base, the couple’s journey takes them through France, Spain, Morocco and across the Sahara desert before arriving in Timbuktu, Africa.

Mr Atkinson, 28, said: “I’m excited to get started because it’s going to be a great trip and I’ll see things I wouldn’t see on a package holiday.

“I can’t wait to be stuck in the wilderness, 200 miles from the nearest town.

“We are absolutely confident we can do it.

“We wanted to get the oldest car we could find because there’s no fun in taking a modern 4x4.”

The hoteliers are raising money for those who suffer from multiple sclerosis after their specialist hotel took care of guests who have the physical disability.

At the moment, the pair have raised £1,500, but once they come to pull out of Blackpool in January, they hope to have amassed more than £5,000.

When the month-long drive is complete, their £150 car will be auctioned off along with the others to raise money to build the hospital in Mali.

Miss Burns added: “I’m a little bit nervous but I’m looking forward to it.

“This will be a complete change for me and I’ll be completely out of my comfort zone.

“We have a lot of people staying at the hotel with MS and it’s really motivating us to do this.

“I can’t wait to get out into the Sahara desert because it’s going to be a challenge in a Reliant Robin.”

The pair have vowed not to let the standard of their car fazed them and have been brushing up on their engineering skills to fix their it if it breaks down.

Mr Atkinson added: “We are both mechanically minded but this is going to be something completely different.

“The car may not get us all the way there, but it’s going to add to the experience.”