David Dodds doesn’t do things by half. He has hiked his way around Peruvian landscapes, ventured across the vastness of the Sahara desert, taken to the streets of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in running gear and a Great North Run vest (okay, that last one may not be quite as glamorous). Now, the Wade Financial planner is looking towards the east, where he hopes to raise more money for his two chosen charities.
The destination for his latest expedition is the ancient city of Petra. Often referred to as ‘the Lost City’ due to its relatively late discovery by the Western world, these days it is anything but, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to Jordan – even enjoying a star turn as the iconic temple in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Long before the tourists and Hollywood directors turned up, Petra was once the proud capital of the Nabataean people over 2,300 years ago. Its last inhabitants may have abandoned their home rather than submit to their Arab conquerors in the seventh century ,but the city’s distinctive rose-red structures remain as striking today as they were during the Greco-Roman and Byzantine periods.
The Jordanian cultural landmark is now a World Heritage Site, and has recently been named as one of the New7Wonders of the World: a perfect place for David to broaden his already expansive horizons.
“Every year I try to challenge myself to do something which is out of the ordinary, to set myself a goal, and to see different places in the world,” admitted the keen traveller. “Petra is one of the seven wonders of the world, so it’s been on the list for a while. I’ve never been to the Middle East, so this is a new part of the world for me completely. I’m told by Discover Adventure that there’s no Home Office warning about going to that part of the world, so hopefully everything should be okay!”
Setting off in October, David will be exploring the deserts, wadis and archaeological sites on the way to the iconic city, hiking up mountains that rise up to 1400m and camping along the route. The trek will see David and his compatriots traverse over almost 100km of Jordan in just seven days. It’s certainly no holiday in the sun. Is he prepared for the latest endurance test?
“I think so. I’m doing some running at the moment. Next Friday I’m doing the Three Peaks challenge in Yorkshire, which is 24 miles in under 12 hours, so that’s good training for it. So I think I’m ready for this one.”
As part of the trek, undertaken with Discover Adventure, David is looking to raise sponsorship funds for not one but two charities, both of which remain close to his heart. The first is Asthma UK, for whom David has undertaken a range of sponsorship drives and community work. “I’m a stand-up speaker for them, going around and trying to educate people about asthma and give them information. They’ve recently achieved a result in that they’ve now got legislation passed where they can have an emergency inhaler in the school that any child can use; before, that was illegal. Asthma UK do a lot of good work like that, so I continue to support them.”
His is also heavily involved with the second beneficiaries; no less active, and certainly no less physical. David volunteers as a football coach for under-13s girls’ team Whitley Coast Soccer, and would like his young and enthusiastic team to enjoy some incredible experiences of their own. “What I’d like to do is for the group is to take them gill scrambling, canoeing, out of bounds stuff. Not all of the parents can afford to pay for that sort of thing, so I thought that I could raise money and start up a fund to take the girls away, to give them some good life experiences that they’ll remember, and create camaraderie within the team.”
If you wish to donate to either Asthma UK or Whitley Coast Soccer, please send a cheque addressed to the respective beneficiary to Wade Financial, 75-79 Howard Street, North Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE30 1AF. Both are registered charities, so Gift Aid can apply on your donation.