High spirits on big climb

This Is Wiltshire: Trek members, back row, Georgia Ind, Dominic Walmesley, Liz Auty, Michelle Freeman, James Tuck; middle, Erin Cox, Steve King, Daniel Williams, Amy Leddington, Pete Charman; front, Gayle King, Adam Wainwright, Mark Voller and Emily Johnson. Trek members, back row, Georgia Ind, Dominic Walmesley, Liz Auty, Michelle Freeman, James Tuck; middle, Erin Cox, Steve King, Daniel Williams, Amy Leddington, Pete Charman; front, Gayle King, Adam Wainwright, Mark Voller and Emily Johnson.

A determined group of 15 people, including a Lacock amputee and his wife, raised £30,000 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance when they completed a mammoth 4,000m trek up Mount Toubkal in Morocco.

The hikers set off from their base camp on Tuesday and completed the endurance challenge on Thursday, battling intense weather conditions to support the charity.

They included Steve and Gayle King, of Folly Row, Lacock, who contributed around £5,000, raised at a series of events. Mr King, 28, was flown to hospital by the air ambulance after an accident on his family farm in the village 10 years ago. His left foot had got caught in a tractor’s hydraulic hitch, causing injuries which led to the amputation. The couple wanted to raise funds for the charity because of all the care it offered to Mr King and how quickly staff got him to the RUH in Bath for treatment.

Air Ambulance head of fundraising Caroline Corrigan said: “For him to come forward and help us along our journey is fantastic and to my knowledge, he’s the first amputee we’ve had tackle the trek and make it to the top. He really pushed himself to the limit and it is such a positive thing to do for us. “It is an absolutely incredible feat for every member of the team, especially as they battled the strong conditions. “They are such a good bunch of people and I’m sure they’ll remain firm friends after this experience.”

The Kings returned home to their two children , Blake, four, and Spencer, one, on Friday and said the trek was a life-changing experience. Mrs King, 26, said: “The group we had were really fantastic and everyone really supported each other through the highs and the lows. I hate all the cheesy stuff, but it really did make a huge difference. Reaching the top was the most rewarding thing, without doubt, but getting above the clouds was a unique experience too. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us, and congratulate the whole group.”

Throughout the challenge, the group was joined by its mascot, Whiskey Bear, who regularly updated his Twitter account with the progress.

To donate to the appeal see www.justgiving.com/ GayleandSteveKing.

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