The group who trekked to Colombia’s lost city are celebrating, after raising more than £80,000 for the the Stars Appeal. 

The group of 33 people, aged from 23 to 80, walked between six and 12 hours each day, over five days, to reach the 1,500-year-old Lost City of Teyuna.

They faced torrential rain and sticky, slippery mud as they trekked through the rainforest. After their long days of walking, they stayed in simple communal bunkhouses, before getting up at 4.30 am to start again. To get to the lost city, the trekkers had to climb 1,200 near vertical ancient stone steps.

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A special celebration evening was held on Tuesday, June 4, at the White Hart Hotel in Salisbury to announce the grand total of £83,927 raised by the trekkers for the Stars Appeal, Salisbury Hospital’s Charity.

Salisbury Hospital Eye Consultant, Dr Rashi Arora, who took part in the trek and is also a Stars Appeal Hospital Ambassador, said: “This was a group of ordinary people who became extraordinary together. The trek was tough, you cannot deny that. We are people from everyday walks of life. I’m not a professional trekker, but the group made me feel like one.”

Trekkers at the lost city Trekkers at the lost city (Image: Credit Spencer Mulholland)

In total, the trekkers hiked over 50 miles and ascended over 3,400m, more than the combined height of the UK’s highest mountains, Ben Nevis, Snowden, and Scafell Pike.

Rashi added: "When I saw them so passionate, not just about the trek, but about the Hospital and the Stars Appeal, it made me feel very humbled. It reminded me of the reasons why I became a doctor and renewed my sense of purpose.

“The Stars Appeal funds a lot of equipment in the Eye Clinic, which helps us provide the best care for our patients.”

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During the celebration evening, the charity’s president, the Earl of Pembroke, gave his thanks to the trekkers and to everyone who has supported them in fundraising. Staff from the hospital, who volunteer as Stars Appeal Ambassadors, also spoke of the difference funds raised for the charity make to patients across the hospital.

Money raised by the trekkers will help the Stars Appeal provide extra care and equipment across Salisbury District Hospital.

Amongst the projects the charity is currently fundraising for are high definition videoscopes for diagnosing head and neck cancer, ‘By Your Side’ sleeper chairs for those staying alongside loved ones in hospital and ongoing work such as the Stars Appeal Wi-Fi, hospital chaplaincy, cancer support and the Stars Appeal Play Assistant on Sarum Children’s Ward.

The funds raised through the Lost City Trek and from previous Stars Appeal treks to Petra, the Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the Great Wall of China, now give a five-trek total of more than £486,866. 

Jayne Prigent, who has completed five treks for the Stars Appeal, said: “When we first suggested trekking for the Stars Appeal 10 years ago, we could never have anticipated that they’d be such a success, or that they could have raised so much.”

The Stars Appeal is already planning its next trek adventure and the destination will be revealed later in the year.