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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 20:19 GMT 21:19 UK
Couple's charity cycle to China
Richard Mason and Kat Wilkinson
The trip has been financed by the couple's redundancy money
A couple from Berkshire have decided to take a bike ride to China and back after being made redundant from work.

Richard Mason, 35, and Kat Wilkinson, 28, are preparing to set off on the 20,000-mile (32,187km) trip from their home in Caversham on 5 June.

They decided to take up the challenge, in aid of Cancer Research UK, after Ms Wilkinson lost her mother to Lymphona.

Their 18-month journey will take them through 27 countries and they plan to be home in time for Christmas 2007.

This trip has given me the chance to do something that would make my mum proud
Kat Wilkinson

Ms Wilkinson's mother Yvonne was diagnosed with cancer in October, 2003, and died on her daughter's 26th birthday, in January 2004.

"Most people think that they have the greatest mum in the world and I am no different," Ms Wilkinson said.

She added: "The shock of losing her blew my world apart, as it did for my entire family.

"This trip has given me the chance to do something that would make my mum proud."

Visa worries

The pair made the decision to undertake the challenge after being offered redundancy from the Reading-based Rural Payments Agency.

The former civil servants have financed their trip from their redundancy money and hope to raise more than 5,000 for the charity.

They will travel through Europe, Turkey, Iran, India and several far eastern countries, including Cambodia and Vietnam, en route to China.

Their return trip will take them through Japan, South Korea, Kazakhstan and Russia before returning to Europe.

Mr Mason said: "We are both pretty fit. We don't envisage too many problems but we are unsure if we will be able to get visas to travel through Iran.

"We may have to go around Iran. We will cross that bridge when we come to it."

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