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Perth housing colleagues to take on gruelling charity challenge

Grant Ager and Susan Bell.
Grant Ager and Susan Bell.

Two colleagues from a Perth housing organisation are preparing for a gruelling charity challenge inspired by a brave political researcher.

Grant Ager and Susan Bell, of Fairfield Housing Co-operative, have decided to undertake the Machu Picchu trek in September following the death of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) campaigner Gordon Aikman, who passed away in February aged 31.

The pair will embark on the challenge at the World Heritage Site in Peru to raise money for MND Scotland.

Mr Ager, who is also vice president of Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Gordon’s Fightback has done so much to raise awareness of a cruel disease which can afflict anyone, of any age.

“Former Rangers and Holland footballer Fernando Ricksen is also a sufferer and closer to home I know of others fighting the disease — it’s heartbreaking.

“We have supported various causes down the years at Fairfield and opted for MND Scotland after talking it over in the office.”

Mr Ager and Ms Bell, a mother-of-two, have stepped up their fitness regime to prepare them for the daunting six-day challenge. This has led to the pair walking, climbing and running.

“This is a genuine challenge for us,” Ms Bell commented.

“When we arrive in Cusco after four flights to get there, we will have just one acclimatisation trek before we set off the very next day.

“Altitude is going to be an issue, with the Salkantay Pass at 4,600 metres, before we descend into Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.

“To put things in perspective, Ben Nevis is 1,345 metres and we don’t know how the altitude will affect us until we get there.

“It is the challenge rather than the Inca history which appeals to me.”

The pair have set a fundraising target of £8,000 by June 30, with money coming in from friends and local businesses.

Mr Ager added: “We have been warned it will be around eight hours and more on the trail each day with some relentless climbing toward the end. You have to finish or you’ll find yourself being taken back down on a donkey and I don’t fancy that.”

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