A COMPUTER programmer took on the challenge of a lifetime when she trekked across the Sahara for charity.

Gill Ackroyd endured dehydration and heat exhaustion to raise money for disability charity Thrive.

The 35-year-old, who used to live in Burghfield Common, trained for more than four months.

She said: “The trek was amazing – the best experience of my life.

“I met some wonderful people who I hope to stay in touch with, all raising money for different charities, all with their own story.

“The walking was tough. It was very hot and sand dunes are really hard to walk over – something I couldn’t have trained for at home.

“We also had a sand storm on our first night in the desert – most of our tents blew down at 3am.”

During the eight-day trek, Gill walked for up to 10 hours a day along with 10 others on the Discover Adventure trip.

Gill, who now lives in Reading, said she plans to take on further challenges to raise money for Thrive, which helps people with disabilities and mental health issues transform their lives through gardening.

Gill said: “Thrive is such a worthwhile charity. I came across it last year when I saw an advert for one of their open days. I admire the work they do.”

Thrive’s public relations manager Alyson Chorley said: “Gill was incredible and her money will go towards helping more people in the area gain the health benefits from gardening.”

For more information about the charity, visit thrive.org.uk.