Friends from Buckinghamshire are planning to drive across the Sahara Desert to raise money for research into Alzheimer’s disease.

William Davies and Duncan Kite, two friends who both live in Buckinghamshire, will travel to the Sahara Desert this week to take part in the Panda Raid, a long-distance rally with no modern GPS equipment, to raise money for the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Alongside their 400 fellow competitors, William and Duncan will drive first-generation Fiat Pandas across the Sahara with only a compass and rally book to guide them.

William said: “We had been looking for an adventure, something a bit different involving cars, and Duncan found this race which ticked all the boxes.

“It’s really basic stuff, the car just has 54 BHP and is stripped down to its essentials with the back seats removed so we can take spare tyres, extra fuel cans, a few tools and a spade for digging ourselves out of the sand! We’ll be sleeping in a tent by the side of the car at night.”

They are hoping to raise £10,000 for the Alzheimer’s charity, which funds life-changing treatment, diagnosis and prevention of the disease.

William added: “Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease with no cure yet, and we really want to raise as much money as possible to help find one.”

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Jess Jenkins, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We’re so grateful to William and Duncan for supporting (us). If nothing changes, one in two of us will be directly affected by dementia – either by caring for someone with the condition, developing it ourselves or both.

“Fantastic fundraising efforts like this will help us get closer to a cure for people with dementia and their loved ones. We wish them both the best of luck with their amazing challenge!”

Panda Raid will take place on Friday, March 1, in Morocco and will see hundreds of entrants take part in a long-distance endurance rally across the Sahara Desert.

All proceeds from the event will go towards Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity. Dementia, which is most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s disease, has a huge impact on families, with nearly a million people living with the condition in the UK alone.

You can support Alzheimer’s Research UK by donating, fundraising, volunteering and campaigning. To find out more, visit to call 0300 111 555.