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When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And Clitheroe-based council auditor Mick Ainscow has powered through a two-day 50 mile (84 km) challenge in the Sahara Desert to raise an amazing £2,400 to help disabled and terminally ill children in Lancashire. His original fundraising target was £1,000.

Mick was one of only 54 of those taking part who managed to complete the walking challenge in Morocco’s Draa Valley (October 21 and 22) – and celebrated his 54th birthday the following day.

Back at his home in Chorley, he said: “I am completely overwhelmed by the generosity of friends, family and work colleagues. Thank you all.”

He added: “It was certainly a tough one given the heat involved – 36 degrees on the first day and 32 degrees the day after. The sun would rise around 7am and by 9am it was baking hot with the sun blazing down continuously until around 7pm. There was very little respite from the sun, with hardly any breeze and no shade apart from at the rest stops every six or seven miles. Although I was able to top up my water at these rest stops, within half an hour or so the water was warm so didn’t really offer much refreshment.

“I found the walk very tough on my feet as rather than walking on sand we walked on quite stony trails for large periods. I have to say that I was very glad when I finally reached the finish on the second day – I had been walking on my own from the last rest stop and not spoken or seen another soul for around three hours.

“I did feel a real sense of achievement in getting to the finish though, knowing that every penny of the money raised will be put to extremely good use by the charity and will help children right here in Lancashire.

“Unfortunately my birthday largely consisted of a ten-hour transfer from the finish line back to Marrakesh, so when we finally reached the hotel I just crashed out. However, I have had a great celebration with my family since I got home earlier this week – and having my two-year-old granddaughter sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me was a real treat.”

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. Its Head of Community Fundraising Nora Smith said: “People around the UK take on all sorts of fundraising events and challenges to support Newlife – but this is certainly one of the most gruelling. We want to congratulate Mick for his grit and determination, and for helping us to transform another young life in Lancashire. Our thanks go to Mick and everyone who has supported him.”

Mick’s Just Giving page is still open, so if you would like to support him – and children with disabilities and terminal illness in Lancashire – go to:

Newlife has already funded £524,831 of specialist equipment – including wheelchairs and walkers for mobility, beds and car seats for safety and communication aids to give children a voice – for 442 children in Lancashire. And the charity is currently working to help a further 23 children with combined needs totalling £26,647.

For more information about Newlife and how it supports families in the county, go to: Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email

Pictured: Mick Ainscow