A daring duo have trekked thousands of feet above sea level in the footsteps of an ancient civilization, in one of the most unusual fundraising challenges ever undertaken for Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

Ian Hodson, aged 56, from Dronfield and Kevin Speight, aged 50 from Chesterfield, both completed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru as a thank you for the help given to their loved ones by Sheffield-based heart specialists. 

Charity bosses say that despite skydives and wing walks, football matches and bake offs, the £1,500 fundraising effort is amongst the most unusual they have benefited from- and hope it will inspire others to challenge themselves to find fresh ways to raise money to support their work. 

Ian said: “It never hurts to test yourself and give something back to charity. The Inca Trail Challenge was inspired by my father-in-law, David Reader, as he completed it 10 years ago. He told me about it and how good it was, so Kev and I decided we wanted to do it for both our relatives who received treatment at the cardiothoracic department at the Northern General Hospital.

“David was diagnosed with a leaky heart valve last year, which needed treatment. He had no symptoms, except for a chesty cough which he thought was an infection, so he was very shocked and upset. 

“He had an operation for a new aortic heart valve and a triple bypass. During his time in hospital he was overwhelmed by the care and treatment he received by every single staff member. He wishes he could have praised and thanked them more at the time, but he was really pleased he could go back to the hospital and present the cheque for our fundraising.”

Kevin’s mum, Lowell Speight, aged 91, had a pacemaker fitted at the Northern General. He said: “Mum has had to have a lot medical treatment over the years, and has always spoken highly of staff.

“She lives independently and has family visiting daily to assist her. She’s still very able and cooks for herself daily. I think it’s fair to say that this may not have been the case if it wasn’t for the treatment and care she had received when in hospital, particularly in relation to having her pacemaker fitted, so for that as a family we are extremely grateful.

The Inca Trail in South America is to be in the top 5 treks in the world. The 26 mile course combines beautiful mountain scenery, a subtropical jungle and a stunning mix of Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels.

“We completed the trail in four days.  It was a tough trek and we had to climatise over a few days. A lot of us had bad headaches due to the altitude.  It was an amazing experience – tough on our legs and knees, but the scenery was incredible,” Kevin added. 

Ian and Kevin raised more than £1500 for Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

For the full list of Sheffield Hospital Charity fundraising events, visit www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk/fundraise or contact [email protected] / 0114 226 7351 to discuss any other ideas.