SOME 35 years after his first visit to the Sahara Desert, retired British Army Colonel Guy Deacon has set off to make the journey again – this time to raise awareness of and funds to fight Parkinson's Disease.

In May the Advertiser reported how Colonel Deacon, who was the senior Royal Armoured Corps officer with headquarters in Bovington up until his retirement last month, took on a gruelling 500-mile cycle challenge to raise money for The Cure Parkinson's Trust (CPT).

This was after being diagnosed and living with the disease himself for the past eight years.

Now he's back on the road – this time in a VW campervan – heading for the largest desert in the world.

Colonel Deacon said: "I first visited the Sahara Desert as a student at Durham University in the early 80s. Since then, I have always had an interest in that part of the world including a crossing of the desert from north to south with 12 soldiers.

"On that occasion I met an American couple that were in a campervan and I thought to myself 'that was the way to do it'.

"Since that time I’ve had a hankering to repeat the journey in a similar vein. It has taken me 35 years, and ultimately retiring from the army to be able to have the time, the vehicle and inclination.

"With this trip in my mind and in the planning for a long time, rather frustratingly, and almost catastrophically, my plans have been knocked by the fact that I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2011.

"As a sufferer of Parkinson’s Disease there are many things I cannot do as well as I could before, and every day things get a bit worse and routine matters become more difficult. But despite that, I am going to carry on with my plan and not let Parkinson’s Disease stop me from living a full life. Quite the opposite, I am now undertaking this trip to raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease, and to raise some money for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust – a charity dedicated to finding a cure for the condition."

He's driving the campervan from Dorset to Sierra Leone, west Africa, over a four of five month period.

After leaving Sherborne on November 9, his route takes him through France and Spain, before getting to Morocco in time to meet his wife and daughter around Christmas.

"Thereafter my African journey will follow the coast of west Africa to Senegal and then on through the countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone et cetera.," he said. "What is most critical is that I get into, if not through, that part of the world before the rain begins in April when roads become all but impassable because of the mud.

"Although nominally travelling alone, I will be joined by friends for certain sections of the road and given the effectiveness of communications I am likely to find like-minded travellers following the same route.

"Whether old friends or new, I suspect the chances of getting lonely are slim."

Colonel Deacon will be posting updates, and hopefully keeping a video diary, so that people can follow his progress.

Visit to donate to his cause.