Hospice fundraiser Ian Williamson shared his Andean adventures with members of Crewkerne & District U3A at their November meeting. Ian Williamson who is a volunteer and fundraiser for St Margaret’s Hospice in Yeovil went on a trek to Peru earlier this year. Ian told the U3A group that despite his misfortunes, falling into a bog during the 95 kilometre trek in the Andes and losing one half of his walking pole which was later retrieved by their cook and stuck back together, and dropping one of his boots into a lake between waterfalls which the group were crossing, he hadn’t managed to win the trek’s Numpty Cup.

Ian said: “Fortunately I had some trainers so I was able to carry on and complete the trek. And the Numpty Cup was awarded to someone who went on a high wire ride and accidentally dropped her Paddington Bear into the undergrowth. At least he is back where he belongs, as she had taken the bear along because he came from ‘darkest Peru.’ As part of the trip, which culminated in a climb to the 15th century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, 2,500 metres above sea level in the Andes mountains, the group took part in a community project at a school. This meant that they had to make their way along a very narrow track to reach it. The school was badly in need of repair and their task was to paint some of the classrooms. Ian said: “We had quite a surprise when we opened the tins of paint to see we would be putting purple on the walls.”

Ian raised £8,000 for St Margaret’s Hospice on his Andean trek. All those in the group, who went on the trek raised a total of £125,000 for charity, with £70,000 going to the hospice. Ian who retired from work two years ago said: “I wanted to keep fit and challenge myself at the same time.” In addition to volunteering and fundraising for St Margaret’s Hospice, he volunteers and fundraises for the Orchard Vale Trust in Wells, which provides residential homes for people with learning disabilities and Ian is also a volunteer with the National Trust. This year Ian took part in the London Marathon walk and has already started training with the hope of running in next year’s London Marathon. Ian concluded his talk for Crewkerne U3A by advising members of a charity night which will be held at the Swan Theatre in Yeovil on Monday January 15th, when a performance of the ‘whodunit’ play Whistleblower will take to the stage.


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