An intrepid Daisy Chain trustee and retired deputy head teacher has trekked in the footsteps of the Incas and conquered Machu Picchu to raise funds for the autism charity.
Alison Tasker retired from Rosebrook Primary School in Stockton and has a special interest in autism after setting up the special educational needs base in the school with two of her colleagues.
As well as employing her expertise as a trustee for Daisy Chain, supporting families in the Tees Valley affected by autism, Alison decided to go a step further and take on the fundraising challenge in Peru.
‘It was quite a challenge. Before I left I was concerned I might not make it so that very first view of Machu Picchu was a very emotional moment. There was a lot of climbing, times when you had to scramble up on your hands and knees but it was so worth it.’
Alison, 61, who travelled with her sister Lynn Wardle, was the oldest member of the 13-strong group and admits she was worried she might get left behind but says the guides that looked after the group were amazing. ‘They were very caring but in a very subtle way. The main guide Edwind Colque checked on you all the time, making sure you were pacing yourself and drinking plenty of water to keep the altitude sickness at bay so you felt like you were in safe hands.
‘It was hard and relentless, needing a lot of stamina but the sights, the scenery, the nature and wildlife were amazing to experience. We saw flamingos, llamas and the most colourful of butterflies, the sunsets were beautiful too.’
The Inca Trail is the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top five treks in the world. It is 26 miles (43km) through the Sacred Valley with beautiful mountain scenery, cloud-forest, subtropical jungle and Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels. It is an arduous climb to the final destination of the trail – Machu Picchu, the ‘Lost City of the Incas’.
Despite the arduous nature of the trek and the freezing cold nights, Alison says every minute of the experience was worth it. ‘It was more of an experience than I even imagined or expected and it was brilliant being able to raise money for Daisy Chain at the same time. As a trustee, I understand how important it is to support the services for families who may otherwise not be able to access support, information and advice.’
Husband Paul, son John and daughter Sarah are all very proud of Alison’s achievement.
Neeraj Sharma, Daisy Chain chief executive, said, ‘I want to say a huge thank you and well done to Alison. Conquering the Inca trail is no small achievement and it’s brilliant that she has raised funds for Daisy Chain at the same time. All this on top of the important role she plays as a trustee, generously giving her time and expertise is inspirational.’