Hospice supporters take on Sahara challenge in memory of their Grandad

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Group photo of Percival family

In memory of their beloved Grandad – Dave Percival –  Emma and her brother Simon, are embarking on an extraordinary journey, to raise both funds and awareness for Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.

Their mission takes them deep into the vast expanse of the Sahara Desert, for a challenging endeavour, that reflects the indomitable character of their grandfather.

Diagnosis and Living Well 

When faced with a terminal lung condition and a prostate cancer diagnosis, Dave showed incredible strength and resilience. During his battle, he became a familiar face at the Living Well Service. It was here that he formed lasting bonds with both the dedicated staff and fellow patients, finding solace in the community they provided.

In April 2022, his condition took a severe turn for the worse. However, after a seven week stay at the Inpatient Unit, to ease his symptoms, he was able to go home and live life well with his loved ones. This allowed him the precious opportunity to share more cherished moments with his family before he died in May 2023.

Charity fundraising 

Dave’s life was marked by a commitment to helping others, particularly through charitable wheelchair events. In 1986, Dave and three friends completed a 130-mile wheelchair push from Sawston, Cambridgeshire to Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

5 people in wheelchairs with their arms in the air.
Dave (centre) and his grandchildren in 2020

In 2020 his grandchildren; Simon, Emma, Paul, Adam and Alice continued this legacy by participating in ‘The Percival Push,’ an event that raised awareness for wheelchair users and continued their grandfather’s charitable work.

The next chapter 

Inspired by his unwavering dedication to making a difference, Emma and Simon decided to embark on an extraordinary adventure to honour his memory. They took inspiration from Emma’s Godmother, who had trekked across the Sahara for Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. Intrigued by the idea, Emma delved into research, and what began as a spark of inspiration evolved into a remarkable plan.

In November 2024, Emma and Simon will embark on a challenging trek across the Sahara desert, traversing Morocco’s rugged landscape, encompassing peaks, gorges, dunes, and oases. This incredible journey spans five gruelling days and covers an impressive 100 kilometres. By night, they will rest under the mesmerizing African sky, adorned with countless stars, creating memories and a bond that will last a lifetime.


Their goal is as ambitious as their journey: to raise £5,000 for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, a fitting tribute to their grandfather’s memory and an enduring testament to the exceptional care he received during his final days.

Determined to reach their impressive target, Emma and Simon have been diligently fundraising through car boot sales, photoshoots, and raffles. The community’s support has been overwhelming, illustrating the profound impact of their mission and the love and respect that so many held for Grandad Dave.

Emma and Simon’s Sahara trek is not just an adventure. Their journey will undoubtedly serve as an inspiration to others, proving that even in the most challenging circumstances, we can make a difference and leave a lasting impact on the lives of those in need. To find out their latest news please visit their Facebook page: Percivals Sahara trek

If you can help Emma and Simon reach their £5000 target, please donate at www.justgiving.com/page/emma-simon-saharatrek-1691423493313

If you would like to support people in Cambridgeshire living with an advanced serious illness or other life-limiting condition and would like to take on a challenge for the Charity, please email Carolyn or Sarah at challenges@arhc.org.uk or call 01223 675888.

A poem was shared by Dave’s Wife, Bronwen and can me found here: arhc.org.uk/supporting-you/personal-stories/detail/living-well-poems