Trekkers get ready to trek Saharan sand dunes for St Catherine’s

Published: 13 Mar 2020

A group of 57 intrepid trekkers are packing their final provisions and getting ready to head to the Sahara in aid of St Catherine's Hospice.

The brave supporters will trek across Saharan sand dunes to raise money for local terminally ill people and towards the building of a new, larger hospice at Pease Pottage.

The group will spend four days trekking across ancient dried up river beds and vast sun-baked plains, and in the evenings will sleep under the stars.

Lucy Pitts and her 14-year-old daughter Greta are two trekkers who are ready and raring to go. Lucy said, “Over the years St Catherine’s has always been on my radar. I remember fundraising for it as a child and since then, I’ve known several people who’ve spent their last few weeks there.

I usually do at least one big fundraising event a year and when I heard about the trek I thought it sounded fabulous. Then my daughter said she wanted to sign up too. She was only 13 when we signed up and I had some reservations, but she’s done so well with her fundraising and training. It’s going to be an amazing experience for her. It’ll be her first trip outside of Europe and I can’t think of a better way to give her a rounded education.

I’m looking forward to most of the trip - sleeping in the desert, pushing myself, meeting new people and visiting Morocco. It’s going to be special watching my daughter experience all those things too.

Sometimes it’s hard to equate that what I, Greta and our fellow trekkers are doing will have a direct impact on other people, but we all know someone with cancer or another life-limiting illness and we’ve all experienced that helpless feeling of being unable to help. But, by doing something like this, we can and that’s good.  

Every part of this experience has been positive so far and we haven’t even left yet!”

The bespoke trek is the third overseas adventure that St Catherine’s has hosted, and the local charity is hoping to raise £140,000 through the incredible challenge.

Arron Trott, Events Fundraiser at St Catherine’s will be with the trekkers in the Sahara. He said: “We’re so grateful to our amazing trekkers for signing up to trek across the largest hot desert in the world. Their efforts will make a big difference to local terminally ill people and their families and will allow our hospice to help more people in the future. At the moment, we can only care for one in three people who need us. It’s vital that we keep raising money so we can care for everyone. I can’t wait to conquer the Sahara with this amazing group.”

If you would like to support the Sahara trekkers, you can donate to their Just Giving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/stchsahara2020

Feeling inspired? To find out how you can take on your own challenge for St Catherine’s visit: www.stch.org.uk or call  Arron Trott in the Events Team on 01293 583082.

I can’t wait to sleep under the stars in the Sahara

Tina Knebel from Crawley is one of 57 intrepid trekkers getting ready to trek the Sahara in a few weeks time to raise money for St Catherine’s Hospice. Here she shares why she’s taking on this once in a lifetime adventure.

When I first saw the Sahara Trek advertised I knew I wanted to do it. I work as receptionist at St Catherine’s Hospice and I know we wouldn’t be here without fundraising, so I thought this could be a personal challenge as well as a fantastic chance to support the hospice.

I already do walking holidays with my husband, and I’ve taken part in the hospice’s Midnight Walk and Sussex Landmarks Hike, but I’ve never done anything overseas or tackled terrain like the Sahara so this will be completely new for me! It’s going to be a fantastic experience though, and I’m super excited, but I know I’ll feel nervous when I’m saying goodbye to my husband at the airport.

I’m most looking forward to sleeping under the stars. When I came to an information evening about the trek there was a presentation from Jude who’s already done the trip. She said that the air is so clear there, you can see shooting stars – I can’t wait for that!

It will be nice to meet new people too. Some people are walking in memory of relatives the hospice has cared for, and for some of them, this is the first trip they’ve done without their loved one so it’s a big step. It’s lovely that I can help support people with that, and that they can support me through the challenge too. There’s even a group of us going to Marrakesh after we finish the trek to experience the culture.

When I signed up to do this, I joined the gym, and have been doing Pilates, circuit and Aqua fit classes. I now spend more time in the gym than at home so I’m in the best possible physical shape to take this on. I’ve asked for some of my kit items as gifts too and my son brought me a battery pack and head torch for my birthday. Knowing those items are from him means they mean much more, and when I’m out in the Sahara wearing and using them, I’ll think of him.

I’ve had a lot of support from people and they’ve been really generous with their donations. I’ve even had visiting relatives at the hospice sponsor me when they’ve found out I’m going to the Sahara – I’ve been really touched by everyone’s support.”

The money Tina and her fellow Sahara trekkers raise will help support local terminally ill people in their community and help towards the building of a larger St Catherine’s Hospice. Thanks to their amazing efforts, St Catherine’s will be closer to helping everyone locally who needs them. To support Tina in her challenge and make a donation please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tina-knebel2

 

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