THEY say there is no such thing as a free lunch but two pensioners hope there is and more as they attempt to travel from Lands End to John O'Groats for free.
Jacki Dixon, 60, and 70-year-old Pat Gorrigne set off on their 10-day mission on May 6 armed only with their bus passes and rucksacks, hoping to make the 874 mile trip without spending a penny.
They aim to become the first women to complete the so-called 'Freedom-pass challenge' since pensioners' bus passes became valid on services nationwide last year.
The adventurous OAPs are fundraising for children's charity Get Kids Going and hope innkeepers, landlords and hotel managers will look kindly on their good deed and provide free food and accommodation.
“We don't intend to spend anything,” said Jacki, who works in customer services for British Airways at Heathrow Terminal 5 and lives in Staines Road, Bedfont.
“If the bus doesn't come we will have to walk. We certainly won't be paying any money for transport. I'm confident we can get all our meals and accommodation free too – I work with people all day so I'm sure I can use my powers of persuasion.”
Jacki and Pat, who lives in Kent, have spent months planning their route and had to get special dispensation to use the buses in Scotland where their freedom passes are not valid. In some places they will have to walk more than 10 miles between bus stops.
However, the prospect does not daunt them – Jacki ran a marathon aged 50 and still runs about 50 miles a week to keep fit.
“When I was 50 I ran a marathon and when I reached 60 I wanted to do something that was challenging but also more leisurely,” she said. “We are a bit of a mad family – my four-year-old grandson does fun runs – but to me the older I get the more energy I get. I feel like all the exercise keeps me younger.”
To donate money or to track Jacki and Pat's journey on their blog, visit www.getkidsgoing.com