Alice Smee, who works in Dorset, is set to endure gruelling heat and will trek 100km through one of the world’s most inhospitable places on earth to raise money for Diverse Abilities, Dorset’s disability charity.

Alice will spend five days trekking through the Sahara Desert in Morocco, where temperatures could reach highs of more than 40C.

Diverse Abilities is the nominated charity of the year for Hoburne, where Alice works as its Network Coordinator. She volunteered to take part in the epic charity challenge to help raise as much money as she can, and to also mark her 60th birthday.

Commenting on the trek, Alice said: “I signed up because this year I will celebrate turning 60, and I needed a challenge that will push me out of my comfort zone. It’s an organised trek, and I chose the Sahara because although it will be challenging, it’s good for people that don’t have a lot of experience.

“When we land in Casablanca, we will travel through the mountain range in Southern Morocco to our starting point in the desert. The heat is going to play a big part, and we will basically be in the middle of the desert with no facilities around us at all. It will be long old days and hard work on the body walking through deep sand but fortunately, we will have a support team who will make sure we don’t get lost in the dizzying heat.”

Alice has undertaken an intensive training programme but admits it is going to be difficult to prepare for the heat.

“I’ve been upping my walking around the Dorset coastline and I normally cycle or swim at least three times a week, so I’ve got a good baseline of fitness,” she said.

Commenting on Alice’s charity trek, Hoburne chairman, Rosie Kennar said: “I have known Alice for a long time, and this challenge is very much out of her comfort zone. We are all incredibly proud of her and the training she is undertaking. We wish her all the best, and we are very grateful to everyone that is donating to such a wonderful cause.”

Hoburne Group Support and Hoburne Park in Christchurch are supporting Diverse Abilities as their nominated charity of the year, with staff organising various fundraising initiatives including bake sales, car washes and quiz nights. To date, Hoburne has raised more than £5,000 for the Dorset charity.

All the funds raised by Hoburne go directly to Diverse Abilities where they will be used to continue the vital services the disability charity provides to adults and children in its care. Events co-ordinator, Jon Wheatley from Diverse Abilities, said: “This is definitely a unique trekking experience and a great opportunity for those that enjoy walking or just love spectacular views. This is a perfect challenge for those wanting to step out of their comfort zone and will provide life long memories. We are so impressed with Alice’s commitment to her training schedule so far and thank her for choosing us as her charity to sponsor.”

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