Retired Ipswich couple set to drive across India

Retired Ipswich couple Alan and Pat Braithwaite (both 73) plan to drive a Morgan Three-Wheeler 3,500 miles across India in 21 days, to raise £200,000 for Indian aid organisation Goonj. The “Trans-India Challenge” is scheduled to take place in November 2019, starting in Mumbai.

“For us, this is the adventure of a lifetime,” says Alan. “We love India and have historical family connections with the country. The car is very special – we’ve painted it black and yellow in honour of my father who always said he wanted a black and yellow Bristol motor car. His dream never came true, so I’ve painted the Morgan in this striking colour scheme in his memory.”

The custom-built Morgan will be shipped to India in August in plenty of time to start the Challenge in November 2019. Starting from Mumbai, Alan and Pat will head across central India via Hyderabad and travel up the east coast to Kolkata, before heading north to New Delhi and returning to Mumbai via Jaipur and Ahmedabad. Their target is 160 miles per day on challenging Indian roads.

The Challenge supports Goonj, a Delhi-based NGO with a unique ‘circular economy’ model that uses recycled urban discard to boost rural communities. A portion of the money raised will also be used to fund peer-reviewed academic research to examine the benefits of the ‘circular economy’ and social regeneration models established by Goonj.

Adds Alan: “As a logistics and supply chain specialist myself, I am particularly impressed by Goonj and its unique business model of shipping discard from urban centres out to rural communities where it’s recycled and put to good use. As a human, I’m impressed that they eschew charity in favour of empowering communities to help themselves with dignity and respect. It’s a revolution in aid and social regeneration, and I want to tell the world about it.”

Along the way, the couple will visit Goonj projects where communities have worked to improve the local environment, sanitation, schools or economies, often using re-cycled textiles or other items discarded by their urban neighbours.

Daily reports and videos on the couple’s progress will be posted each day on their social media channels. A documentary about the trip is planned for release in 2020.