Nostalgic send-off for members of overland trip

(From left) Mr Nigel Newbery, Mr Pat Murphy and Mr Tim Slessor, members of the 1955 overland trip from London to Singapore, with a replica of a Land Rover used on that trip. Mr Slessor is part of the team embarking on the Singapore to London trip on
(From left) Mr Nigel Newbery, Mr Pat Murphy and Mr Tim Slessor, members of the 1955 overland trip from London to Singapore, with a replica of a Land Rover used on that trip. Mr Slessor is part of the team embarking on the Singapore to London trip on Aug 25.ST PHOTO: REBECCA LYNNE TAN

A sprightly 87-year-old retired documentary maker and an animated 31-year-old film-maker held court on Wednesday at the quaint Grenadier pub in a back lane near London's Hyde Park Corner, where they spoke enthusiastically of their upcoming adventure - a road trip from Singapore to London.

From the steps of the pub, in front of two restored vintage Land Rovers, the duo addressed a crowd sipping on gin and tonic and pints of beer in the evening sun.

Film-maker Alex Bescoby and retiree Tim Slessor will head to Singapore, where their team of eight will set off on a 16,000km trip dubbed "The Last Overland" on Aug 25. The driving expedition, supported by the Singapore Tourism Board in commemoration of the Republic's bicentennial, will take them across jungles, mountains and deserts.

Sixty-four years ago, Mr Slessor stood outside the very same pub at a similar send-off for him and five other men, then in their early 20s. They were going on a journey from London to Singapore, the farthest overland trip attempted at the time.

The crowd listened as Mr Slessor read from pages of his journal documenting the send-off in September 1955. He described an emotional moment of photo-taking, filming, re-positioning of the Land Rovers, and old friends wishing them well - not too dissimilar a scene to what took place on Wednesday.

He then presented his grandson Nathan George, 21, an economics graduate who will join the expedition, with a key to the original Land Rover he drove those years ago - in a symbolic move to pass on the legacy.

"Don't go doing anything silly. The whole thing is a bit of a risk but don't make anything riskier than you have to," Mr Slessor said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'Nostalgic send-off for members of overland trip'. Print Edition | Subscribe