Following 1,250 miles in dad’s footsteps 60 years on

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Tomorrow Andrew Roebuck aims to recreate a 1,250-mile journey his father made more than 60 years ago. Catherine Scott reports.

Tomorrow a Huddersfield man will start to recreate a journey completed by his father in 1954 when he embarks on a bike ride from London to Rome next week.

Former local cricketer Andrew Roebuck will take on the 1,250 mile ‘‘Ti-Konki’’ challenge with his friend and fellow Broad Oak Cricket Club member Paul Burluraux in aid of Yorkshire Cancer Research.

The pair have already raised more than £3,700 for the charity, which funds research and services across Yorkshire to help more people survive cancer.

The ride will follow a route taken 65 years ago by Andrew’s father Alan and a group of friends in an old army vehicle they named Ti-Konki.

The group were students at Huddersfield Technical College at the time, and wanted to travel to Rome to study the city’s architecture first-hand.

The inspiration behind the name ‘‘Ti-Konki’’ came from the Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947, a journey by raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands, led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the trip taken by my father,” says Andrew.

“I’m fascinated by the idea of going out to Europe when the troops were still there in the aftermath of the Second World War. At that time, travelling to these places was impossible for most of the population.

“So this is a pilgrimage to pay tribute to their endeavours, but also to raise funds for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

“My family has a history of cancer. That’s why we want to raise as much as possible for this very good cause.”

Andrew and Paul will travel through Calais, Lyon, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Menton, Genoa and Pisa before finally arriving at their destination in Rome.

They will ride in the claret and gold colours of Huddersfield Rugby Union club – the same as the ones worn by Italian football club AS Roma – and their shirts will bear the logos of the local businesses that have sponsored the ride.

Stuart Wrigley will be the support driver for the trip, which is expected to take 17 days to complete.

Other team members include Andrew’s daughter Jasmine and Amy Palmer, who are running 
social media accounts for the challenge.