Cavers man Will prepares for Peru challenge

Will Roberts on a previous charity trek.
Will Roberts on a previous charity trek.
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A Hawick fundraiser is setting his sights on a new challenge in memory of his late wife and to support a cause close to his heart.

Will Roberts lost his wife Ellie to motor neurone disease five years ago, and he is taking on a Machu Picchu challenge this summer as a tribute to her.

He, alongside 14 friends from the charity Motor Neurone Disease Scotland, has signed up for an 11-day trip featuring a six-day trek along the Inca rail in Peru this September.

From the Andean foothills into the Salkantay high mountain pass and along the Inca Trail, the journey to the ancient city of Machu Picchu will feature heights of more than 15,000 feet and take in the famous city of Cusco.

The former Royal Air Force wing commander is no stranger to challenges like this, though.

Will, of Cavers, was part of a group of 28 friends who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for the charity back in 2015 and while perhaps not as high a climb, his latest challenge promises to be just as gruelling.

“It will be one heck of a challenge for me at the age of 73,” he said. “I will be the oldest in the group, just as I was the oldest in the Kilimanjaro group at 71.

“But we are all going to be old mates, and I have terrific support from my friends.”

Will’s wife Ellie was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2010 and died just 18 months later in May 2012.

Shortly after, Will joined the board of trustees for MND Scotland, and the charity has since raised more than £198,000 for support and research into the disease.

He said: “The charity MND Scotland helped me care for her through that terrible illness, which, to date, has no known cause or cure.

“Shortly after her death, I became a trustee of the charity, which continues to provide invaluable care and support to MND sufferers and their families, and to promote research into the causes and treatment.

“That work costs a lot, and the organisation desperately needs help to maintain its work.”

Also secretary to Denholm Community Council, Will is training through weekly walks with a group of friends making up the informal walking group the Teviothead Trekkers.

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/WillRoberts-
MachuPicchu-2017 to donate.

Joining him in the group are two of his nieces Liz Mackay from Edinburgh and Jennifer Low, who lives in Glenrothes.