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City news, 27.04.2007 17:37

To Russia with love

Peter_Page Ramsbury goldsmith and jewellery designer Peter Page will be heading to Russia with love as he drives off to fulfil a life-long ambition.

He will set off from his Ramsbury home on May 1 in an expertly restored 47-year-old Austin 101 van, which bears the goldsmith's coat of arms.

Mr Page’s 3,200 mile round-trip will take him from the Wiltshire village across Denmark, Sweden and Finland to Russia and St Petersburg - home of the Winter Palace and its renowned collection.

“St Petersburg was the home of fantastic jewellery and gemstones for nearly 150 years,” Mr Page said.

“I'm a designer goldsmith working in gold, platinum and precious stones, so quite naturally I'm interested in jewellery in all its forms.

“Catherine the Great's collection started in the mid 18th Century and about one hundred years later the work of Gustav Faberge and his two sons who created the famous Easter Eggs made for the Tzars. It was all treasured under the communist rule and even added to.

“The result is the most flamboyant of buildings housing the most flamboyant pieces.”

Mr Page, who is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and has a workshop in Ramsbury, will be fund-raising along the way for a local hospice.

He added: “I'm going to have fun but in doing it I have chosen to support the Prospect Hospice in Wroughton near Swindon. They do a fantastic job in providing compassionate care for those facing the diagnosis of serious and terminal illness and need all the financial help they can get.

“The drive there will be taxing for the van especially as Russian roads are supposed to be quite hazardous. It's a journey of approximately 3,200 miles - with about half being on land.”

The Austin, which served the East Midlands Electricity Board for many years, has been extensively over-hauled in preparation for the trip.

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(c) 2000