Mums’ Sahara trek for cancer charity

Challenge: Sophie and Alli with the Marie Curie banner on top of a Sahara sand dune
Challenge: Sophie and Alli with the Marie Curie banner on top of a Sahara sand dune
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Two brave mums tackled the heat of the Sahara desert to raise money for a cancer charity.

Friends Sophie Bashall and Alli Croft, both 48, took on the challenge to raise £5,500 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

They joined the national charity’s 42-member six-day trek in November inspired by Alli’s determination to ‘give something back’ to nurses who had given her family such wonderful care.

Mum-of-two Alli, from Chaigley, near Clitheroe, said: “I have been a fund-raiser for Marie Curie for a couple of years and I wanted to do the trek because I saw it on the website, I felt it would be more challenging, would raise bigger chunks of money and therefore be more successful for the charity.

“Close members of our family have died through this dreaded disease so I therefore made it my mission to help fight the cancer battle.

“It was a fabulous opportunity to raise the necessary funds that keep Marie Curie helping terminally ill patients.

“It makes it a worthwhile cause to push our personal boundaries both mentally and physically.”

Sophie, who grew up in Goosnargh, has three children and now lives in Thornley-with-Wheatley near Longridge, said: “This challenge was going to be extremely tough for us, neither of us have ever done anything like it before - and some of the sand dunes were said to be greater than the height of Pendle Hill!”

Before the trek, they had to raise £2,000 each to take part, so to start funds coming in, they organised a summer ball at the Inn at Whitewell.

Six months before the starting date, they both started fitness regimes, joining gyms and running on local hills.

They became very familliar with the local runs around Jeffrey Hill, Kemple End and Birdy Brow.

The mums’ journey started at Manchester Airport, when they met the Marie Curie group plus doctor and the charity’s organisers for their flight to Morocco.

They then embarked on the six days in the Sahara, trekking six to seven hours a day, camping each night after setting up their two-man tents. Wet wipes were washing facilities and camp loos were provided at night.

On the second day, Alli and Sophie were thankful they had trained because the group was faced with a sandstorm.

Sophie said: “We wouldn’t have missed it for the world and we will definitely do something similar again - but probably nearer home.”