A GROUP of trekkers took on the challenge of a lifetime in Morocco to raise more than £40,000 for Francis House Children’s Hospice.
Revd David Ireland, the Hospice’s CEO from Dobcross, led the team of 22 on the testing eight-day trip across the greatest mountain range of North Africa.
The group experienced contrasting conditions of warmth in Marrakech to strong winds and freezing wet weather high up in the Atlas Mountains.
For up to seven hours a day they ventured through steep valleys and barren landscapes, while spending the nights sleeping among the traditional Berber communities.
“It was a hard trek but interesting to live with the Berber people high in the mountain villages,” said David. “They lived in real poverty but were a very friendly people.
“The scenery was stunning and we camped in tents or slept out under the stars.
“We walked with a trekking company that puts a proportion of the profits back into education projects for girls,” added David, whose wife Judith joined him on the journey.
The trek was organised by Howard Chambers, who is coach with Saddleworth Runners and also swapped the moors of the Peak District for the mountains with his wife Jo.
Howard travelled to Morocco earlier in the year to review the area and look at the routes ahead of the feat, which raised more than £40,000 in sponsorship for the Hospice.
Dr Andy Taylor from Grasscroft, a member of Oldham Mountain Rescue Team, was the medical officer for the trip.
Travelling up to heights of around 9,000 feet, Andy was on hand with advice and help when some of the trekkers felt the effects of the changing altitude.
David added: “Everyone enjoyed the trek. It was a unique experience and we are so grateful to all the trekkers for their hard work and effort with months of training beforehand.”
Francis House cares for over 370 sick children, teenagers and young adults with a short life expectancy and provides support, friendship and short breaks of respite care for families.
All services are provided free of charge and the Hospice, which needs over £3.6 million to continue running each year, relies on donations.
Find out more about Francis House Hospice online: www.francishouse.org.uk