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Charity drive across Africa

Charity drive across Africa

A north-east fundraiser has returned from a 4,200-mile drive across the deserts of Africa.

Stuart Watts from Fyvie in Aberdeenshire, was helping a Scottish-based charity whose mission is to stem the rampant spread of disease in poorer countries.

Smalls For All gives out underpants to help prevents serious infection being passed on within closely-knit communities.

The 69-year-old retired social work manager teamed up with co-driver Susan Wilson from Edinburgh to take on the challenge.

They delivered supplies to hospitals and schools in Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and the Gambia, often driving through deserts for miles on end.

Mr Watts said: “It was very exhausting and we had to stop a couple of times, for two days of badly needed rest.

“The trip went well, apart from a puncture near the end, and having to bribe border guards to let us through on one occasion.

“While we were in Mauritania, we ended up driving on a beach after the tide had gone out and only managed to avoid getting stuck. Cars all around us had sunk into the sand.”

He described a ferry trip across the River Gambia as a “mass of humanity, with the car being bombarded with hundreds of kids”.

The pair auctioned their trusty vehicle at the end of the trip, and to his amazement the second-hand Ford Escort estate, which cost £660 and made the journey intact, fetched £950, which was donated to the charity.

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