Sahara desert challenge for Lancaster hospice nurses

Lucy O'Connor, Bev Youren, Sue Townley and Michele Moorby are part of a team of 20 trekkers who will take to the sands of the Sahara in March next year in aid of St John's Hospicew, Lancaster.
Lucy O'Connor, Bev Youren, Sue Townley and Michele Moorby are part of a team of 20 trekkers who will take to the sands of the Sahara in March next year in aid of St John's Hospicew, Lancaster.
Share this article

Four nurses are taking on the challenge of a lifetime in aid of Lancaster’s hospice.

Lucy O’Connor, Bev Youren, Sue Townley and Michele Moorby – who work on the In-Patient Unit at St John’s Hospice – are part of a team of 20 trekkers who will take to the sands of the Sahara in March.

The trekkers will start at “the door of the desert”, the ancient town of Ouarzazate in Morocco made famous by films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator, and TV show Game of Thrones.

From here they will be led by camels into the largest hot desert in the world to climb the dunes of Ait Oumir, scale the cliffs of the southern Drâa and conquer the highest dunes in the region, L’erg Zaher.

Braving soaring temperatures, treacherous terrains and the looming possibility of a sandstorm, the trekkers will be rewarded for their efforts with glorious sunrises and sunsets and the least interrupted view of the stars known to man, on occasion seeing the Milky Way with the naked eye.

Lucy O’Connor, ward clinical lead, said; “The physical demands of the desert terrain and the possibility of battering sandstorms will be a big challenge for us, but one we are proud to be undertaking in memory of all the brave people we have cared for. It will be the memories of the patients that will spur us on.”

Sue Townley, senior health care assistant, has been with the hospice since it first opened its doors in 1986.

“As nurses, we pride ourselves on the quality of care we can deliver to our patients, we try to do everything in our power to answer what the patients ask of us – but this is the first time I’ve been required to march through a desert,” she said.

This will be the third trek in the name of the hospice, with the Sahara team committed to raising at least 
£25,000.

Jo Humphrey, fundraising manager, said: “This is a fantastic and vital contribution that will allow us to continue delivering our services in the community.

“In real terms it costs £5.1m a year to keep St John’s running which means the charity must raise almost £9,000 every day from fundraising events like this trek, local supporters, legacies, donations and grants.”

lIf you would like to join the Sahara trekkers there are still spaces available by applying on the website www.sjhospice.org.uk/sahara