29 Nov 2013

Sahara trek raises more than £2,000 for Candlelighters

 Andy Dransfield

Earlier in the summer we featured an article about fundraiser Andy Dransfield as he prepared for a five-day trek through the Sahara desert for charity.

Setting off from Morocco at the end of October, the trek covered just over 100km of dusty sand dunes and rocky terrain. With temperatures peaking in the early 30s, this was not a challenge for the faint-hearted.

Andy raised an astonishing £1,810 for Yorkshire children’s cancer charity Candlelighters. With gift aid collected by MyDonate this has been boosted to £2,123. His fundraising page will remain open until December.

We caught up with Andy to find out how the trek went, and to see if he had any tips for adventurous fundraisers thinking of doing something similar.

Highlights of the trek

The world’s largest and driest desert, the Sahara covers over 3,500,000 square miles, or roughly, 10 per cent of the continent. An uninhabitable and hostile landscape, temperatures can reach as high as 57 °C during the day, dropping as low as -6 °C overnight.

However, there was beauty to be found in the arid landscape. Speaking about the trek over sand dunes on day four, Andy said: “The scenery was amazing and a welcome change from the uneven rocky terrain of the day before. The sky at night was spectacular, with lack of light pollution and the bonus of seeing a couple of shooting stars.”

For Andy, there was also a real sense of community and teamwork amongst the group. When asked about the highlights of the trek he said: “The friendships gained from spending a week in the desert as a team of 19 people - making sure that 19 started, and 19 finished.”

What tips does Andy have for like-minded fundraisers?

For Andy preparation is key. He said: “If you prepare correctly and specifically for the task, there is no reason why you cannot succeed. If you get an opportunity to experience something that may not arise again, do not have regrets. If this also presents an opportunity to raise money for a charity that you care about, this makes the end achievement so much more rewarding.”

Fighting children’s cancer in Yorkshire

Candlelighters is a charity formed, and run, by parents of children who have or have had cancer, ex-patients and the medical staff who treat them. Based in Yorkshire, Candlelighters provides essential services and support to children with cancer and their families.

Sarah Tuckwell, regional fundraising manager for Candlelighters, said: “We are utterly delighted that Andy survived his challenge with just one small blister and has raised such a fantastic sum for children fighting cancer in Yorkshire. Candlelighters provide practical, emotional and financial support to children, and their families, and the funds Andy has raised will make a real difference. Huge thanks to Andy and his friends, family and colleagues for supporting him.”

Securing vital funds for research

Sarah went on to say: “We were delighted when BT launched MyDonate as it allows our fundraisers to highlight their event and gather sponsorship online through a trusted and well known company, completely free of charge to both the fundraiser and Candlelighters.”

Every penny raised for Candlelighters is spent on enhancing the children’s ward, specialist equipment, play therapies, clinic areas, extra staff, a holiday whilst on treatment and research into childhood cancers.

View Candlelighters’ fundraising page

View Andy’s fundraising page

For more information about Candlelighters you can visit their website





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