A big-hearted Doncaster granddad and his wife have boosted a cancer hospital’s funds after taking an African adventure.
im Beachill, aged 70, and his wife Barbara, 69, have completed a mammoth 3,300 mile journey across Southern Africa.
The Conisbrough couple hope the journey has raised another £5,000 in the latest stage of Jim’s ongoing challenge to raise cash for Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital.
Jim has already raised £30,000 for the hospital’s cancer charity by walking the full length of Hadrian’s Wall, driving coast to coast across America, taking a trekking tour in Iceland and walking a 100-mile stretch of the Great Wall of China – on each occasion in the company of his grandchildren.
In seven years, Jim has walked and driven more than 7,000 miles.
During their South African odyssey, Jim and Barbara journeyed through the Cedarberg mountains in a 4X4 truck, went canoeing on the Orange River in Namibia, took an unforgettable sunset trek above the Fish River Canyon – second only in depth to the Grand Canyon – and scaled the sand dunes at Sossusvlei, which rise to a height of more than 300 metres.
Jim, of Marchdale Rise, said: “The adventure began with a day in Cape Town, a beautiful city full of native Africans. The waterfront was a lively, fascinating place, with dolphins in the harbour. The next day we took a final look at Table Mountain before a journey through the Cedarberg mountains in the 4X4 truck, which was to be our base for the next three weeks.
“As we left South Africa the tarmac roads gave way to rough, corrugated, dirt-track surfaces. We passed large, well-irrigated vineyards and massive complexes of native workers.
“At Sossusvlei sand dunes we climbed Dune 45, which was an incredible experience.
“More than 3,000 steps climbing up soft sand – and all before 9 o’clock on Sunday morning.
“Then we walked to the dead lake which had numerous trees in a colourful panorama. To end the day we descended the Sesriem Canyon.
“We journeyed to Swakopmund, passing through more sand dunes and salt flats.
“Swakopmund was an eye opener. It has a 50,000 population but only 16,000 reside in the town. Separated from it by an industrial estate are the townships which house 35,000 natives with varying housing conditions.
“We visited the townships and schools and were invited to a meal which included caterpillars and worms, washed down by a cold beer!
“We also had the privilege of seeing Victoria Falls. It was unforgettable.”
* Anyone can still donate at James Beachill Just Giving page