Trek of a lifetime
FUNDRAISERS WALKING IN MEMORY OF LOVED ONES RAISE AN AMAZING £64K
ONE sandstorm, several blisters and hundreds of thousands of steps later, this year’s Hospice of St Francis trek team is celebrating after walking 50km across the Sahara Desert and raising an amazing £64k for hospice care.
The 20-strong group of intrepid adventurers from across Bucks and Herts, spent two full days and two half days trekking across ancient dried-up river beds, giant sand dunes and vast sun-baked plains before setting up camp for the night and sleeping under a blanket of stars.
The group rounded off the trip with a two-day community project helping to improve conditions at a centre for street children and a home for the elderly in Marrakesh.
The trekkers walked for a variety of reasons – some in memory of loved ones who have been cared for by the hospice, while others took part for the personal challenge and unforgettable memories.
The oldest member of the group, Chris Milner, 71, from Darvell Drive, Chesham, walked in memory of his wife Carol, who died at the hospice in February 2016.
He said the experience had been life-changing and after a year of training for the trek, he now walks nearly everywhere he goes.
“The whole experience has been absolutely marvellous,” he said.
“I had never done anything like this or been involved in a group like this before so I was slightly apprehensive but even though everyone had their own reason for being there, we all gelled brilliantly and we quickly became one team.
“I did a lot of training beforehand to get myself ready for the trek, which really paid off because despite being the oldest in the group, I didn’t find the conditions too difficult to cope with.”
Chris, who raised nearly £3,000 for the hospice during a year of fundraising, added: “I would definitely recommend anyone to take on a trek for the hospice.
“It is such a fantastic place and they cared for Carol so well and looked after all the family in the days after she died, I felt I needed to do something to give something back.
“It was also a chance to prove something to myself and my family and as a result, I’m a lot fitter and healthier than I was before, which has done me the world of good.”
Lucy Hume, head of community fundraising at the hospice, who accompanied the group on the trip, said the camaraderie among the trekkers was incredible.
“Even when a sandstorm hit and we had to take shelter for an afternoon and a night in our tents, spirits remained high.
“I have nothing but admiration for them all for what they’ve achieved and the fantastic amount of money they have raised to help the hospice continue to support people to live their precious lives well. It truly was an experience of a lifetime.”
The hospice’s next trek to India will take place from November 7 to 17 2019 and involve four days’ trekking 50km through the lush green tea plantations of southern India’s tropical Kerala region at altitudes of up to 2,640 metres.
It will end with a two-day project at a children’s hospice in Trivandrum, taking part in activities to help improve services for children and their families.
Anyone who signs up before the end of November will receive a £25 discount on the £395 registration fee.
For more information email [email protected]cis.org.uk or visit www.stfrancis.org.uk/trekindia.