Leeds cabbies charity drive to Australia

People often complain that taxi journeys cost the earth.

But these cab drivers have the right to demand a big fare – as they plan to take their 18-year-old taxi all the way to Australia in a record-breaking attempt.

Johno Ellison, 27, from Boston Spa, is joining Paul Archer and Leigh Purnell, both 23, on a challenge called It's On The Meter, which is aiming to raise more than 20,000 for the British Red Cross.

The adventurers are hoping to break the Guinness World Record for the longest-ever taxi journey, covering 39 countries, four continents, 10 different time zones and more than 50,000 kilometres.

The team will set off from London next month, travelling through Europe, Moscow, North Africa, the Middle East, India, Mongolia, China and South East Asia.

They plan to arrive in Sydney in October, picking up fares including VIPs, journalists and temporary team members, as well as locals who could use a lift.

Johno, a former pupil at St Aidan's Church of England High School in Harrogate, said: "One night we were sitting in a taxi on the way home and we thought out loud, "I wonder what's the longest journey anyone has ever done in a taxi?" and from there the idea just grew and grew.

"We found the 18-year-old taxi for 1,500 on eBay and have been working on getting it up to scratch for the last few months.

"The mileometer has already been round once so we're not sure how many miles the cab has done but we've been told by a mechanic that in theory we should be alright for the 30,000 miles to Australia."

Johno, who trained as a helicopter pilot after leaving school, met Paul and Leigh at Aston University in Birmingham, where he studied sustainable product design.

The trio won a competition called The Non Standard Awards, run by insurance firm Performance Direct, to help fund the trip - but are looking for more sponsors.

Johno added: "I'm most looking forward to seeing the contrasts between the different parts of the route. We're heading up to the Arctic first then going through the 50C heat of the deserts of the Middle East.

"It will be interesting to see how the car, and the team, deal with these different conditions."

To contact the team and read their blog, visit www.itsonthemeter.com.

To make a donation to the charity, log onto www.justgiving.com/itsonthemeter

PHOTO: Press Association

Hundreds of young Leeds people ‘are slipping through the NEET net’