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Africa rally shock for tsunami survivor

PUBLISHED: 17:48 15 January 2008 | UPDATED: 09:50 08 July 2010

A MAN driving to Africa on a charity challenge is meeting up with a woman he survived the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami with but has never met.

Driving an old Subaru, Greg Page, from Watton, and friend John Warden are undertaking a gruelling drive from Plymouth to Banjul in the Gambia.

A MAN driving to Africa on a charity challenge is meeting up with a woman he survived the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami with but has never met.

Driving an old Subaru, Greg Page, from Watton, and friend John Warden are undertaking a gruelling drive from Plymouth to Banjul in the Gambia.

The pair, who signed up for the rally event last May, set off on Saturday with a group of around 20 other cars, all trying to raise money for good causes.

But Mr Page, 55, never imagined one of the people he would be driving alongside for 19 days, Jane Kelso, was on the

same island in Thailand as he when the tsunami hit.

He said: “My wife suffers from MS so she, our daughter and I went for our last big family holiday in 2004 to Phi Phi.

“When the tsunami happened we ran up the mountain where we spent the night. Only about half the people on the island survived and we were lucky to be part of that number.

“Since it happened I've raised money for the villagers. I've also gone back there to see how the money was spent.

“When John and I were accepted on to this rally we joined an internet group of all the other people who would be coming

with us.

“Randomly, the tsunami came up in the conversation and it turned out Jane had been there at the same time.

“Gibraltar is the first time when all of the group will be together so we've arranged to have a drink and chat about it. I've never met anyone else who survived it. It'll be good to compare notes.

“It's quite strange to think that out of the small group that survived the tsunami we've ended up together in another small group. I just hope that means we don't bring bad luck to the trip.”

Rally rules state volunteers must spend no more than £1,000 on a car for the rally and about £50 preparing the vehicle.

The route takes drivers across harsh inhospitable terrain, including the Sahara desert, and now the event is under way participants cannot spend extra money on replacement parts.

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