From Shitterton in Dorset to Twatt in the Orkney Islands, a petrolhead is embarking on a rude road trip in an affectionate tribute to a fun-loving friend who died of cancer last year.

Car and motorbike enthusiast Paul Taylor will be passing through places such as Titty-Ho, Willey and Slack Bottom Road.

And he’ll be doing the 1,800 miles on a 49cc classic moped with a dizzying top speed of 28mph as he thought it wouldn’t be quite the same challenge if he did it on a proper 250cc motorbike.

Paul, from Wantage, became friends with fellow classic car and bike fan Alexis Leventis 26 years ago when Paul sought Alexis’ help to fix up his 1971 VW Beetle.

They remained close friends ever since and during the final stages of Alexis’ life, Paul would take him down to the river in his wheelchair where they would share a beer.

Oxford Mail: Paul's route through the rudest places in Britain

Paul's route through the rudest places in Britain

Alexis was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 18. The cancer came back several times over the years, but last year, after it spread to his brain for a second time, he was told there was nothing more that could be done.

Paul said Alexis, who was 55 when he died, had always considered himself very lucky to have survived the cancer at 18, and so regarded any time after that as a bonus.

He generally remained very positive even after his terminal diagnosis and Paul was in awe of how brave Alexis was.

Paul said: “I was just 17 when I met Alexis, but it was immediately clear he was one of the kindest, most genuine, people you could meet, and we remained incredibly close right up until his death in 2020.

“Cancer is such an awful disease, and I knew I wanted to do something to help, but I don't really know where the idea for this fundraiser came from.

“I'd seen some silly place names on the internet, and started doing more research, and then the plan just gained momentum.”

Paul, who has worked for the NHS, chose the Institute for Cancer Research to fundraise for “because the work they do has such a direct, positive impact”.

He joked: "I told Alexis about my idea when he was alive, and he thought it was really funny, although a bit mad, but I don't think he actually thought I'd go through with it."

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