Former Royal Marine from Harrogate treks more than 150 miles across Sahara Desert to aid fight against cancer

Trekking across more than 150 miles of the Sahara Desert in six days a former Royal Marine from Harrogate has managed to continue towards an overall goal of raising £20,000 to aid the fight against cancer.

Paul Ward travelled to southern Morocco last month for the Marathon des Sables

Paul Ward travelled to southern Morocco last month for the Marathon des Sables in aid of Yorkshire Cancer Research. It is a cause close to Paul's heart following the death of his father, Harold Ward, at the age of 53 to the disease in 2003.

The ultramarathon drew close to 1,000 people from across the world, among one of those who travelled with Paul battled on through the harsh conditions with stage four cancer.

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Paul said: "We had someone with us during this challenge who had stage four cancer, there is nothing that can be done for them but they were still carrying on to try and make it so others don't have to suffer. I feel like I am doing it for the same reason. Everybody knows someone who has cancer and if a little bit of money can help towards the work finding a cure, or give someone more time it is always going to be worth it."

Close to 1,000 people gathered for the challenge

The multi-stage challenge is broken up over six days and has participants carrying their own food and supplies as they go. The difficult terrain and heat resulted in some competitors having to receive medical assistance due to heat stroke, says Paul. With Bedouin style tents the competitors also camped out in the desert over the course of the marathon.

Over the year Paul has also taken part in other challenges to help raise funds, his last was a treadmill challenge which raised close to £3,000. His current total now stands at just over £10,000.

He also previously raised funds for St Michael's Hospice, who supported his father and his family.

Serving in the Royal Marines across the nineties, and currently working in maritime security in Oman, Paul said the Marathon stands out as one of the most difficult charity challenges he taken part in.

He said: "This was definitely one of the hardest ones I have done, because it is done in multiple stages and at the same time you are making sure that you can be self sufficient. You had people on hand to take care of you and put up the tents each night but we had to carry our own food and supplies in those conditions."