Kate Ashdown and her friend Rachael Queen have completed the 2018 Dakar Challenge, a Banger Car Rally in aid of charity.

The Dakar Challenge had been a lifelong dream for the aptly named ‘Desert Divas’. Having been friends since school, they reconnected a few years ago through social media, the Dakar dream came true.

The three-week challenge took the pair across eight countries covering 3,700 miles. While most of the trip is on tarmac roads, the highlight was the two-day crossing of the Sahara Desert as they travelled down the coast of West Africa.

Kate, 41, who is an Architectural Technologist, took on the challenge to raise funds for St David’s Hospice, in memory of her father John.  St David’s Hospice is a local charity providing free hospice care to adult patients across Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey.

Kate wanted to pay her gratitude to the Hospice for the care the clinical team provided her father in 2016 after he was diagnosed with mouth cancer.

Kate said:

“St David’s Hospice, Llandudno, is where my Dad spent the final few weeks of his life. The staff and volunteers there were truly wonderful and exceptionally kind to both Dad and my family. Nothing was ever too much and tea and toast were readily available, even at four o’clock in the morning,  when all we could do was to sit and contemplate.

“The challenge is a homage to dad. We grew up in Qatar and spent most of our spare time in the desert. Dad was very much into survival, driving and adventure.

“I loved the challenge.  There were tough parts, especially travelling with altitude sickness, but I would happily do it again.

“I’m hoping that the money raised for the Hospice can help the patients in the end stages of their life so that they can be comfortable, cared for and happy. I also hope it helps the families so that they can feel peaceful and cared for.”

Together they raised £1,458.75 which was split equally between for St David’s Hospice, Epilepsy Research UK and Cancer Research.

Hospice Conwy Area Fundraiser, James Wilde said:

“What a fantastic way for Kate to remember her dad and create lifelong memories in the process. The money and awareness raised will go a long towards the care offered here at St David’s Hospice.”