Duo host fundraising ball in preparation for trek across Sahara desert

Two local heroes have raised thousands for the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance in preparation for a Charity trek across the Sahara desert.

Roger Linnell, a paramedic at the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, and Gary, a Sergeant at RAF Waddington, raised over £3,000 for the pair’s Sahara Trek Challenge by hosting their own fundraising ball. As part of the challenge, the duo will trek over 100km across the Sahara Desert later this year to raise money for the airborne paramedics.

The black-tie Charity ball, which was held at RAF Waddington with thanks to the generous donation of use of their facilities, saw guests enjoy a delicious two course meal, a raffle with over £3,000 worth of prizes and various entertainment held throughout the duration of the evening.

Sergeant Paul Twitchell, a Weapons Technician instructor who undertook 3 separate tours of Iraq as a Joint Service Bomb Disposal Squadron, delivered an inspiring talk on how he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a long period of going un-diagnosed. Paul shared how this diagnosis kick-started his road to recovery, which would see him compete at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney as part of the Silver medal winning sitting volleyball team.

Gary said: “The Charity ball was a real success, with guests completely immersed in the event from start to finish. The team worked tirelessly to pull together such a spectacular event, and we are now fully immersed for plans of hosting a Christmas-themed ball in December!

“We would like to thank everyone for their incredible generosity, whilst offering a special thanks to Poppyfield Equestrian Riding Centre in Heighington for collecting the majority of incredible raffle prizes for the evening.

“With thanks to our guests, myself and Roger are now well on our way to achieving our fundraising target ahead of our Sahara Trek Challenge in September. We really are delighted to be raising funds for such a deserving cause that is literally life-saving.”

In September this year, both Roger and Gary will spend five days walking across the Sahara desert, where they will climb Moroccan sand dunes, sleep under the stars in tents and face blistering temperatures of up to 33 degrees celsius.

Paramedic Roger has a very real reason for taking on this challenge in the autumn. He said: “As one of the paramedics at the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, we deal with serious illnesses and injuries every day of my life. But when it came to the loss of my own parents, I genuinely struggled to come to terms with the loss.

“By setting myself this personal goal, I feel I am making a fitting tribute to my parents and giving myself the closure I badly need, whilst raising money for such an incredible cause that I am extremely proud to be a part of.”

The challenge, which forms as a key part of the Charity’s celebrations for their 25th Anniversary year, will see 25 participants take on the challenge; one for each year the life-saving helicopter has been flying.

To sponsor the pair for this incredible challenge, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Gary-Hastie (Gary’s JustGiving page) and https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ROGER-LINNELL9 (Roger’s JustGiving page).