Trekkers raise more than �100,000 for Willesden education centre

Fundraisers clambered over rocks and braved sandstorms for facility in Walm Lane

A group of daring trekkers have raised more than �100,000 for a Willesden based facility after the trip of a lifetime saw them walk more than 80km across the Sahara desert.

The 37 fundraisers clambered over rocks, braved sandstorms and survived fluctuating temperatures from the searing heat to the freezing cold, raising a grand total of �150,000.

The funds will go towards vital work at the Hope Centre in Walm Lane, a service which offers help for children and youths with special needs.

Run by Stanmore-based organisation Norwood, the centre employs staff to offer innovative learning techniques to the children. .

Ian Fagelson, a trustee who helped organise the trip said the funds would be vital in continuing to provide a good service.

He said: “The money raised will be vital for the facility; first and foremost the money will pay for the most important thing which is our staff.

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“We don’t use special equipment or gadgets but highly trained professionals to get the best out of children.”

Using learning techniques, including a method pioneered by Professor Reuven Feuerstein, teachers and therapists help youths aged three to 19 to develop the skills to become confident learners.

Mr Fagelson also praised his fellow walkers and said it was a ‘delight’ to visit somewhere he had never been before while raising vital cash.

He said: “We climbed a 1,000 foot sand dune and watched the sun come down on the other side which was just fantastic.

“However, it was the winter, so at night and early in the morning it was very cold, it was pretty challenging in parts climbing over rocks and there was even a sandstorm at one point but it was all worth it.”

The trekkers returned to home soil last week after the four-day adventure.

Ian Tate, Norwood’s Business Development Manager for Challenges praised the group for braving what he described as one of the ‘most hostile places on earth’.

He added: “The work carried out by Norwood at the Hope Centre and our many other life-changing services is only possible through the generosity of our supporters.

“I would urge anyone interested in setting themselves a challenge this year to sign up to one of the many events we have organised.”

For more information about Norwood visit