Beijing Biddies smash target as money rolls in for cancer charities

Our total is £114,000…and counting!

Having set out to raise £100,000 with our three road challenges – Beijing, Arctic Circle and Tuk Tuks around Britain – we are delighted to announce that we have smashed through that target.

This is an amazing amount of money to raise and we are thrilled that our last-ever challenge has been so successful. Thank you to everyone who has donated so generously to support Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Although this is our final road challenge, we have plans for a couple of fundraising events over the next few months so hopefully we can keep the money coming in.

Watch this space for details of forthcoming events and don’t forget there is still time to donate!

Thank you

The Beijing Biddies


Welcome home as Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team crosses the finish line
Tuesday 16th May

The Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team crossed the finish line at the University of Cumbria today (Tuesday May 16) 14 days after setting off from Carlisle city centre.

The team, along with a group of six students who supported them, were welcomed back by the university, supporters and friends at the Brampton Road campus, marking the end of their 1100-mile journey around Britain to raise money for the fight against children’s cancers.

Edwina Sorkin, of Newbiggin-on-Lune, Kirkby Stephen; Kate Sleath, from Wetherby, in Yorkshire; Helen Stobart and Liz Tinkler, both from Penrith; were undertaking their third and final challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

While travelling around Britain in the motorised rickshaws, calling in to cancer research centres and units in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester, the team has had the backing of six second and third year Cumbria University students.

Jessica Bracken, a third-year event management student, has been responsible for creating posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Five second year students from the university’s wildlife media, adventure media and photography programmes, Alexander Fowkes, Amon Shaw, Dominic Daniel, Sam Burton and Emily Dodd, volunteered to take photographs, write a blog and keep a video diary of the challenge.

Team leader Edwina said: “This has been a huge team effort and we are delighted to have completed the challenge safely and in less time than we expected.

“Our motivation has always been to raise as much money as possible for our two cancer charities.  However we also wanted to raise awareness of this awful disease and we have certainly done that with this wacky challenge. We met so many people on the roads of Britain who came up to us with their own stories of their experiences of cancer, and to donate money to our cause.

“We are eternally grateful for all the support and kindness that we’ve encountered on our journey.”

It is almost three years to the day since Edwina and Kate, calling themselves the Beijing Biddies, drove from the UK to the Chinese capital in just 29 days for the two cancer charities. Last year they were joined by Helen and Liz plus Kerrie Ellison to drive from Carlisle to the Arctic Circle with no overnight stops, completing that challenge in four days.

So far they have raised £80,000 and aim to reach £100,000.


From one Charity to another as Beijing Biddies meet Emmerdale actress
Friday 5th May

Four women who are raising funds to help the fight against children’s cancers by driving two Tuks Tuks around Britain have visited Harrogate to see the work being carried out at The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre.

And there to meet the Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team were staff and patients, along with actress Emma Atkins, who plays Charity in Emmerdale.

The women were given a tour of the centre, which is based at Harrogate Hospital, to see some of the work being done there to help cancer patients.

Kate Sleath, aged 66, from Wetherby, along with Edwina Sorkin (71), Helen Stobart (51) and Liz Tinkler (50), from Cumbria, have raised £80,000 so far for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support and are aiming to reach over £100,000.

Team leader Edwina, who is originally from Leeds, said: “We were delighted to meet everyone at the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre and to see how the money we are raising is spent.”

Emma Atkins said: “I think what these women are doing is absolutely amazing. It is not an easy challenge and they deserve to raise lots of money for this really worthwhile cause.”

They aim to cover 1100 miles in 16 days, driving at an average speed of 20 miles an hour for six or seven hours a day. The journey, starting at Carlisle on Tuesday, May 2, sees them visit cancer centres and hospitals in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester.

Edwina said: “The Tuk Tuk challenge is perhaps our craziest yet. These little Tuk Tuks are great fun but they take skill and a lot of concentration to drive them as we intend to – all day and to a strict timetable.”

It is almost three years to the day since Edwina and Kate, calling themselves the Beijing Biddies, drove from the UK to the Chinese capital in just 29 days for the two cancer charities. Last year they were joined by Helen and Liz plus Kerrie Ellison to drive from Carlisle to the Arctic Circle with no overnight stops, completing that challenge in four days.


Beijing Biddies meet Mia at Great North Children’s Hospital
Thursday 4th May

Four women who are raising funds to fight children’s cancers by driving two Tuks Tuks around Britain have visited Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary to see the work being carried out at the Great North Children’s Hospital.

The Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team met Dr Quentin Campbell-Hewson, a consultant in paediatric oncology, along with one of his patients, four-year-old Mia Presch, who is currently receiving treatment for a Wilms tumour on her kidney.

Wilms tumour is the most common form of kidney cancer in children[1].

Dr Campbell-Hewson, who receives funding from Cancer Research UK for his work on early phase cancer research, showed the charity fundraising team some of the work being done at the unit to help young cancer patients.

Mia, from Great Corby in Cumbria, is currently undergoing weekly treatment at the hospital. Her dad, Gareth Presch, said: “She’s been very brave and we’re proud of how she’s dealing with her treatment.

“What the Beijing Biddies are doing is raising awareness of a cruel disease that can hit any family at any time. We need to come together and support cancer research and we wish the team every success in this amazing journey that they are undertaking.”

The women, Edwina Sorkin (71), Helen Stobart (51) and Liz Tinkler (50), from Cumbria, along with Kate Sleath (66) from Yorkshire, have raised £80,000 so far for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support and are aiming to reach over £100,000.

Team leader Edwina said: “We were delighted to meet Dr Campbell-Hewson and Mia at Newcastle RVI to see how the money we are raising is being used to help treat patients like Mia.

“To see a child or a young person suffering from cancer is really hard. That’s why every penny that we raise on this challenge will go to help kids and teens, so the more people that we can reach on our journey, the more money we can raise to fight this terrible disease.”

They aim to cover 1100 miles in 16 days, driving at an average speed of 20 miles an hour for six or seven hours a day. The journey started at Carlisle on Tuesday, May 2, and sees them visit cancer research centres and hospitals in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester.

It is almost three years to the day since Edwina and Kate, calling themselves the Beijing Biddies, drove from the UK to the Chinese capital in just 29 days for the two cancer charities. Last year they were joined by Helen and Liz plus Kerrie Ellison to drive from Carlisle to the Arctic Circle with no overnight stops, completing that challenge in four days.

Edwina said: “The Tuk Tuk challenge is perhaps our craziest yet. These little Tuk Tuks are great fun but they take skill and a lot of concentration to drive them as we intend to – all day and to a strict timetable.”

Natasha Patel, fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK, said: “Our scientists and nurses look forward to welcoming the Beijing Biddies team at Cancer Research UK centres during their epic Tuk Tuk trek. The money they raise will allow Cancer Research UK’s doctors, nurses and scientists to advance vital research which is helping to save the lives of boys, girls, men and women in Cumbria, Yorkshire and across the UK.”

Sue McDonald of Macmillan Cancer Support said: “At Macmillan, we are thrilled to continue our involvement with the Beijing Biddies. The forthcoming challenge will really test their mettle whilst raising much needed sponsorship to help cancer patients who often find every day a challenge!”

[1] Based on the annual average number of children diagnosed between 2008-2010. National Registry of Childhood Tumours/Childhood Cancer Research Group


Mia and the mayor wave off Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team
Tuesday 2nd May

A four-year-old girl who is receiving treatment for cancer joined the mayor of Carlisle to wave off the Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team today.

Little Mia Presch and Councillor Colin Stothard were at the Old Town Hall in Green Market to wish the four women the best of luck as they set off to drive around Britain in two motorised rickshaws to raise money to fight children’s cancers.

Mia, from Great Corby, is currently undergoing weekly treatment at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle. Her dad, Gareth Presch, said:“Mia has been really looking forward to meeting everyone and to playing her part in the team’s send-off.  She’s been very brave and we’re proud of how she’s dealing with her treatment.

“What the Beijing Biddies are doing is raising awareness of a cruel disease that can hit any family at anytime. We need to come together and support cancer research and we wish the team every success. As a family we are happy to be joining Councillor Stothard to show our support for the amazing journey that the Beijing Biddies are about to undertake.”

Team leader Edwina Sorkin said: “We are very touched that both Mia and the mayor were in Carlisle to wave us off. Mia is such a brave girl and is an inspiration to us.

“To see a child or a young person suffering from cancer is really hard. That’s why every penny that we raise on this challenge will go to help kids and teens, so the more people that we can reach on our journey, the more money we can raise to fight this terrible disease.”

The team started their 1100-mile journey from the Old Town Hall and will travel to Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester, stopping off to visit cancer research centres and hospitals along the way.

Edwina Sorkin aged 71, of Newbiggin-on-Lune, Kate Sleath (66), of Wetherby, Yorkshire, Helen Stobart (51) and Liz Tinkler (50), of Penrith, will take turns to drive the two Tuk Tuks.

They have already raised £80,000 for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support and are aiming to reach £100,000 and more with this third and final challenge.

For more information, or to sponsor them, visit www.beijingbiddies.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @BBiddies.


Mia and the mayor to wave off Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team
Tuesday 25th April

Come and join four-year-old Mia Presch and the mayor of Carlisle as they wave off the Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge team next Tuesday (May 2).

Little Mia, who is currently receiving treatment for cancer, and Councillor Colin Stothard will be at the Old Town Hall in Green Market from 8.45-9.15am to wish the four women the best of luck as they set off to drive around Britain in two motorised rickshaws to raise money to fight children’s cancers.

Mia, from Great Corby, is undergoing weekly treatment at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle. Her dad, Gareth Presch, said: “Mia is really looking forward to meeting everyone and to playing her part in the team’s send-off.  She’s been very brave and we’re proud of how she’s dealing with her treatment.

“What the Beijing Biddies are doing is raising awareness of a cruel disease that can hit any family at any time. We need to come together and support cancer research and we wish the team every success. As a family we are happy to be joining Councillor Stothard to show our support for the amazing journey that the Beijing Biddies are about to undertake.”

Team leader Edwina Sorkin said: “We are very touched that both Mia and the mayor will be in Carlisle to wave us off. Mia is such a brave girl and is an inspiration to us.

“To see a child or a young person suffering from cancer is really hard. That’s why every penny that we raise on this challenge will go to help kids and teens, so the more people that we can reach on our journey, the more money we can raise to fight this terrible disease.”

The team will start their 1100-mile journey from the Old Town Hall, travelling to Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester, stopping off to visit cancer research centres and hospitals along the way.

Edwina Sorkin aged 71, of Newbiggin-on-Lune, Kate Sleath (66), of Wetherby, Yorkshire, Helen Stobart (51) and Liz Tinkler (50), of Penrith, will take turns to drive the two Tuk Tuks. They have already raised £80,000 for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support and are aiming to reach £100,000 and more with this third and final challenge.


Students keep Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge in the spotlight
Tuesday 11th April

Six students from Cumbria University are helping to keep the Beijing Biddies in the spotlight as they undertake their third and final charity challenge.

The students, who are in their second and third years, have volunteered to handle social media, take photographs, write a blog and keep a video diary of the team as they drive around Britain in two Tuk Tuks to raise money for the fight against children’s cancers.

Jessica Bracken, a third-year event management student, is responsible for creating posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, while five second year students from the university’s wildlife media, adventure media and photography programmes will follow the team of four women as they drive 1,100 miles in two motorised rickshaws in aid of Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Jess says: “I’ve always had a keen interest in getting involved with charitable events and activities and when I was given the opportunity to join the challenge team and work on something with a wider spectrum, I jumped at the chance. The previous challenges that the Biddies have undergone looked immensely invigorating, and I feel lucky to be given the opportunity to work on their final challenge and be involved in the process to raising money for two remarkable charities. I’m also having the chance to progress my social media marketing skills, as well as networking with and learning from a group of individuals from different professional backgrounds.”

Adventure media students Alex Fowkes, Amon Shaw, and Dominic Daniel, photography student Sam Burton, and wildlife media student Emily Dodd have set up their own photography and videography company, Thrown Overboard Media Co (TOMCo), and will use their expertise to create a daily blog, film and photography record of the 16-day challenge.

Alex explains: “Logistically, when following the Biddies, we are most likely to use two cars, almost ‘bunny-hopping’ the Biddies, enabling us to get footage of them on the go, from interesting angles and perspectives. We will be part of the convoy and, when not filming, we’ll be using the cars as mobile studios for sorting out footage, naming clips for editing, charging batteries and planning the next thing we need to do or film. The final documentary should be between 20 and 40 minutes in length, highlighting the amazing journey the ladies went on, including the ups and downs.”

Driving at an average speed of just 20 miles an hour for six or seven hours a day, the Beijing Biddies will set off from Carlisle on Tuesday, May 2, stopping off at Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester to visit cancer centres and hospitals.

Team leader Edwina Sorkin said: “We are absolutely delighted to have such a group of enthusiastic and hard working young people on board for this challenge. Their fresh ideas and commitment to helping us achieve our aim of raising as much money as we can for children`s cancers are fantastic.”

The team of Edwina Sorkin aged 71, of Newbiggin-on-Lune, Kate Sleath (66), of Wetherby, Yorkshire, Helen Stobart (51) and Liz Tinkler (50), both of Penrith, will take turns to drive the two Tuk Tuks.

They will stick to Britain’s A and B roads in the 198cc vehicles, taking them through towns and villages where they are hoping to create quite a stir.

Edwina said: “We want people to come out and cheer us on and, hopefully, donate to our two charities.  To see a child or a young person suffering from cancer is really hard. That’s why every penny that we raise on this challenge will go to help kids and teens, so the more people that we can reach on our journey, the more money we can raise to fight this terrible disease.”

It is almost three years to the day since Edwina and Kate, calling themselves the Beijing Biddies, drove from the UK to the Chinese capital in just 29 days for the two cancer charities. Last year they were joined by Helen and Liz plus Kerrie Ellison to drive from Carlisle to the Arctic Circle with no overnight stops, completing that challenge in four days.

So far they have raised almost £80,000 for the charities and are aiming to reach over £100,000 with their latest challenge.


Eddie Stobart support for Beijing Biddies Tuk Tuk Challenge
Monday 27th March

Two tiny Tuk Tuks will be turned into miniature trucks for the Beijing Biddies charity challenge team following support from Eddie Stobart.

The four women will drive the motorised rickshaws around Britain in the distinctive green and white livery of Eddie Stobart as they undertake their Tuk Tuk challenge to raise money for the fight against children’s cancers.

The Beijing Biddies team has received a major boost to their third and final charity challenge from Eddie Stobart as they attempt to drive the three-wheeled vehicles on a 16-day round trip in aid of Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Driving at an average speed of just 20 miles an hour for six or seven hours a day, the Beijing Biddies will set off from Carlisle on Tuesday, May 2, stopping off at Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester to visit cancer centres and hospitals.

Team leader Edwina Sorkin said: “We cannot express our gratitude enough to Eddie Stobart for their generous backing. It will be a huge help in our attempt to raise more than £100,000 for our charities – and we’ll certainly be eye-catching.

“We know that a lot of people love to spot Eddie Stobart vehicles on the roads, so hopefully the spotters will keep an eye out for the two latest additions to the fleet!”

The team of Edwina Sorkin aged 71, of Newbiggin-on-Lune, Kate Sleath (66), of Wetherby, Yorkshire, Helen Stobart (51) and Liz Tinkler (50), both of Penrith, will take turns to drive the two Tuk Tuks.

They will stick to Britain’s A and B roads in the 198cc vehicles, taking them through towns and villages where they are hoping to create quite a stir.

Edwina said: “ We want people to come out and cheer us on and, hopefully, donate to our two charities. To see a child or a young person suffering from cancer is really hard. That’s why every penny that we raise on this challenge will go to help kids and teens, so the more people that we can reach on our journey, the more money we can raise to fight this terrible disease.”

The two vehicles have been loaned to the team for the duration of the challenge by Tuk Tuk UK, the country’s largest importers of auto rickshaws, which is based in Cheshire.

The team also has the backing of Glossop Caravans, who are donating free use of a £38,000 motorhome, which would cost around £5,000 to hire, as a backup vehicle where the team will eat and sleep, plus The Camping and Caravanning Club who are offering free overnight stops at their campsites.

It is almost three years to the day since Edwina and Kate, calling themselves the Beijing Biddies, drove from the UK to the Chinese capital in just 29 days for the two cancer charities. Last year they were joined by Helen and Liz plus Kerrie Ellison to drive from Carlisle to the Arctic Circle with no overnight stops, completing that challenge in four days.

So far they have raised almost £80,000 for the charities and are aiming to reach over £100,000 with their latest challenge.


Beijing Biddies on the road again with Tuk Tuk challenge!
Thursday 9th March

The Beijing Biddies are hitting the road again for their third and final charity challenge…driving around Britain in two Tuk Tuks to raise money to help the fight against children’s cancers.

The team of four women aim to cover 1100 miles in 16 days in the motorised three-wheeled rickshaws, stopping off to visit cancer centres and hospitals on a route that will take them around England and into Scotland and Wales.

Driving at an average speed of just 20 miles an hour for six or seven hours a day, they will set off from Carlisle on Tuesday, May 2 for their last challenge in aid of the UK’s two leading cancer charities, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The round trip will start and finish at Carlisle, with stop-offs in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Harrogate, Cambridge, London, Merthyr Tydfil and Manchester.

It is almost three years to the day since Edwina and Kate, calling themselves the Beijing Biddies, drove from the UK to the Chinese capital in just 29 days for the two cancer charities. Last year they were joined by Helen and Liz plus Kerrie Ellison to drive from Carlisle to the Arctic Circle with no overnight stops, completing that challenge in four days.

So far they have raised over £80,000 for the charities and are aiming to reach over £100,000 with their latest challenge.

Team leader Edwina said: “This is perhaps our craziest challenge yet. These little Tuk Tuks are great fun but they take skill and a lot of concentration to drive them as we intend to – all day and to a strict timetable.”

The team will stick to Britain’s A and B roads in the 198cc vehicles, taking them through towns and villages where they are hoping to create quite a stir.

Edwina said: “ We want people to come out and cheer us on and, hopefully, donate to our two charities.  To see a child or a young person suffering from cancer is really hard. That’s why every penny that we raise on this challenge will go to help kids and teens, so the more people that we can reach on our journey, the more money we can raise to fight this terrible disease.”