A BARNSTAPLE-based heating specialist is planning to take one of his firm s old plumber s vans on a trip of a lifetime to Timbuktu. Simon Boorer of Optimum Heating and his wife Sandra ,will be joining other vehicles all taking part in the Plymouth to Daka

A BARNSTAPLE-based heating specialist is planning to take one of his firm's old plumber's vans on a trip of a lifetime to Timbuktu.Simon Boorer of Optimum Heating and his wife Sandra ,will be joining other vehicles all taking part in the Plymouth to Dakar Timbuktu Challenge. Their Peugeot Partner van has 150,000 on the clock, but there won't be a call-out charge on this trip. It has been converted to run on a 25-50 per cent bio-fuel mix, and fitted with sump guards, extra fuel filters and energy-saving solar panels. The 1.8 diesel will be swapping tarmac for the sand and rock-strewn "roads" of West Africa."We're a little apprehensive but excited - it's going to be a big adventure for both of us," said Simon."But as well as an adventure, the trip is all about reusing, renewing and recycling."We will be running the van on a mix of cooking oil and diesel and are taking solar energy conversion kits to power up things like mobile phones."When we get to Timbuktu, the local Rotary Club will be arranging for the car to be auctioned so that at the end of the journey, it can begin a new life for people in Africa.