Desert trek for Rotherham children’s charity

Mark Smith and Tracy Haycox
Mark Smith and Tracy Haycox
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A group of intrepid explorers have set off on a 100km trek across the Sahara desert in aid of a children’s charity.

The 27 walkers will complete the gruelling challenge over the next week to raise funds and awareness for Safe@Last, which provides support to young people at risk through running away from home.

Those taking part include the Rotherham-based charity’s founder, Hilary Massarella, director of operations and strategy, Mark Smith, and director of children and young people’s services, Tracy Haycox.

Joining them will be a range of fellow supporters, including some who completed a Kilimanjaro climb for Safe@Last in 2012.

Trekkers will walk up to 28km a day, sleep in shared Bedouin tents, and endure extreme desert temperatures - but will be rewarded for their efforts with epic views of the Sahara desert including stark peaks and formidable gorges.

Before departing, Mark said: “I’ve found myself taking part in many different events over the years to raise vital funds for Safe@Last.

“I’ve slept rough in car parks at The Big Sleepout, taken part in a fun run dressed as a cow, and waded through Rother Valley Lake during The Big Adventure Challenge, but the Sahara trek will be my biggest and scariest challenge yet.

“I know it’s going to be tough to walk such distances in extreme conditions, but I also know how invaluable the money raised will be in keeping children safe.”