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Desert trek for Walberton man

A Walberton man with learning disabilities is gearing up for a six-day trek across the Sahara Desert.


Mark Wagner, who is supported by the learning disability charity Hft, joins a team of eight, comprised of operations and fundraising staff, friends and family.


The group, which is hoping to raise £16,000, will be braving sandstorms, intense heat, freezing nights and some of the world’s tallest sand dunes.


Mark said:


“This will be a huge challenge but it will be a real eye-opener and an amazing adventure. I am looking forward to being part of a team raising money for such great projects too.”


Jodi Harford, regional fundraising manager at Hft, said:


“Mark’s tenacity is a huge inspiration to our whole team, and we’re so excited to be setting off on this adventure, which promises to be the challenge of a lifetime.


“People with learning disabilities face obstacles that are hard to imagine. We use our skills, experience and creative ideas to help people overcome them.


“That can range from round the clock support to helping with specific challenges such as building a social life or developing skills for independent living. Funds raised will go towards supporting more people like Mark to live the best life possible.”


The group is due to set off on Wednesday, beginning their trip at the village of M’Hamid.


Inspiration for the adventure came from Mark, who, alongside a friend, was one of the first two people with learning disabilities to complete a fundraising trek in Iceland in 2017.


The 52-year-old has been keen to plan his next adventure ever since and, after looking for something completely different, made the decision to swap snow for sand.


All funds raised will go towards new projects at Hft services including transforming a greenhouse in a community allotment near where Mark lives.

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