Thirteen intrepid people from Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) will set off on a 28-mile (45km) trek along Peru’s Inca Trail in May to raise £10,000 for the South Western Ambulance Charity.
The team, which includes 11 paramedics from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), will climb as high 13,800ft (4,200m) on the legendary trail to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
As well as tackling high mountain passes, they will hike through rainforest areas and subtropical vegetation in temperatures ranging between 30 degrees celsius during the day to 6 degrees at night.
Sponsorship from the self-funded adventure will go to the South Western Ambulance Charity to support the wellbeing of frontline crews, and the communities they serve, in the BNSSG area.
The adventurers all come from the BNSSG area and include student paramedic Donna Jordan and paramedics Leanne Bessell, Tracy Jarrett, Sharon Swanborough, Abi Elliott, Gabriella Salmon, Dianne Fant, Richard Clark, Helen Field, Georgia Simpson, and Charlotte Cousins.
Former SWASFT Emergency Care Assistant Vicky Turner, and Ian Hunt from Avon Fire & Rescue Service, are also in the team.
Donna, whose idea the expedition was, says: “Back in August 2021, in the middle of the pandemic, thirteen of us decided to get together to try to raise £10,000 for our local ambulance stations and colleagues as a thank you for everything they all do.
“We’re funding the trip ourselves, getting ourselves into shape and training together, and we’re determined to complete the challenge.
“I suggested trekking to Machu Picchu, which has been on my bucket list for years. I love history and can’t wait to walk in the footsteps of the people who created the Inca Trail hundreds of years ago.
“We’d love any support you can offer. It doesn't have to be much, as every penny will get us closer to our £10,000 target.”
Zoe Larter, Head of the South Western Ambulance Charity, adds: “Our crews always go the extra mile but the Inca Trail is exceptional even by their standards. The money this intrepid team raises will go back into Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. It will help the South Western Ambulance charity to enhance working environments, provide outdoor space for crew breaks at ambulance stations, and support the health and wellbeing of our people, who work so hard every day in what can often be stressful and challenging jobs. We owe a big thank you to all the expedition’s members and donors for their support.”
SWASFT's County Commander for BNSSG, Sarah Jenkins, says: "I am in awe of this amazing expedition and I wish the team the very best of luck. All of us in BNSSG are grateful for any funds that will be raised as part of this trip and we look forward to following their adventures".
So far the team has raised £1,610 and anyone who would like to support them can make a donation at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swast-team.