After years of telling everyone he wanted to do it and saying that one day he would do it, Mark Sheppard has finally decided to walk across the Sahara Desert. But why?
Says Mark: “I saw a programme on the TV some time ago, in which Neil Morrissey rode a camel across the dessert and I thought how amazing it would be to do either that, or something similar before I turn 50.”
Fast-forward several years to when Mark and his wife Julia, herself a therapist and owner of The Complementary Therapy Centre, are sitting in reception at Beaumond House Community Hospice prior to a meeting with Patrick Fisher about the possibility of them volunteering their services a few hours a week. While they were waiting, Julia happened to notice a poster on the wall advertising a fund-raising trek across the Sahara in Morocco. “So, are you going to apply for this?” Julia asked Mark. “You know, sometimes there just seems to be a synchronicity about things and the way they happen,” Mark says. “As a therapist and personal developmental coach, I’ve been working with clients helping them to reach their full potential and fulfil their goals. “I was approaching my 50th year and the chance to walk across the Sahara was staring me in the face! So it was now time to listen to my own words, get up off my butt and do something! How could I refuse?”
Mark has been to Morocco several times before, but never to the Sahara. The first time was when he and Julia took their four-year-old daughter there on holiday. “We were a bit worried about taking Molly with us at first but the Moroccan people are so friendly and welcoming and they love children,” explains Mark. “We love so much about Morocco, the people, the food, the mint tea, the art and the music. And now I’m getting the opportunity to return to fulfil a personal ambition and most importantly, raise money for a really worthy local charity.”
Beaumond House Community Hospice provide a very important resource for the people of Newark and the surrounding areas, as well as for their families who are sometimes forgotten about during the care of people with life limiting conditions. In 2010/11 Beaumond House provided: Care to over 400 patients and support for their families 2680 Days of day care 1108 Nights of respite care
357 New patient referrals
478 Sessions of complementary therapy
449 sessions of bereavement support
889 sessions of patients’ carer support
£800,000 worth of benefits to our patients & carers through 694 sessions Welfare Benefits Advice
418 Items loaned from walking frames to electric recliner chairs and motorised mobility scooters
24/7 Helpline providing support and advice
All of this costs money! So please, please help by sponsoring Mark whatever you can afford to help fund this fantastic organisation.
So what does Mark think is the best thing about going on this trek?
“Obviously I'm very excited about getting back to Morocco, especially to walk across the Sahara. It's also been really interesting to be my own client as it were – putting my own words in to action and moving towards one of my own personal goals. As a bonus I'm also getting fitter due to all the walking I'm doing in advance of the trek!”
Ways to donate
You can visit Mark’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/Mark-Sheppard-Sahara and donate online, or you can donate simply by texting TREK73 followed by the amount you want to give (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10) to 7007
For example TREK73 £10
Every penny is desperately needed and gratefully received.
If there is anything you would like to change about your life or any goals you feel you would like to reach then why not contact Mark on 01636 642878 or visit his website at www.marksheppard.co.uk or the Complementary Therapy Centre's website at www.thecomplementarytherapycentre.co.uk