Mark Gillett

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Youth Expedition Sinai at The Lightbox – Woking

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This project took up much of my year in 2007.  I am so proud of the young people who took part in this project and to date has been the most successful expedition I have been involved in. Below is the information that is accompanying the images at The Lightbox

Expedition Information

“Last summer, a group of young people from Woking and surrounding areas became the first group of British teenagers to cross the Sinai Desert, Egypt. This photography exhibition is to showcase their achievement over the three-week period.

The aim of the expedition was to raise £100,000 funds for the Child Bereavement Services of the Woking Hospice. Many in the young group were recently bereaved themselves and had already had to overcome the challenges of dealing with the loss of a parent or in some cases a sibling.

The team of nine 13 to 18 year olds, led by expedition organiser, Mark Gillett and a team of experienced adult leaders, trekked 150km across the Sinai from West to East carrying their gear on their backs.  The terrain was unforgiving and the heat relentless, with daily exhaustion becoming the norm but this did not deter the group.  The day would start at 5am with wake up, breakfast and packing to be on the move before sun up.  By late morning it was time to rest up during the heat of the day when temperatures of 52 to 57 degrees were recorded.  Finding shade was essential, as this would bring the temperature down by about 10 degrees to the mid forties.

After 14 days the team finally made it to the road.  150km later, although dirty and worn out, there was so much joy on their faces.  News had also reached the team via satellite phone that their fundraising goal was also on track, which was the icing on the cake. It had all been worth it. They had no other contact with home.

The job was not over yet, though. On returning to Dahab the youngsters had a Bedu youth centre to renovate as part of the project.  This would take them another 5 days of hard graft in temperatures of 40 degrees plus.  The final result was amazing as they transformed two rooms (“changing rooms style”) with the help of local Bedu children.  The end of the expedition was marked with a football match at the youth centre.

This was more than just an ordinary fund raising venture; the young explorers showed determination way beyond the norm and came together as a team to reach their goal.  They endured incredible conditions but found an inner strength they did not know they had.  It was also a very emotional experience for everyone involved and friendships have been formed and will last for a lifetime.

Photographer, Mark Gillett’s stunning images documenting this extraordinary trip are on display here in the lobby of The Lightbox from Thursday 21 February to Sunday 2 March. He hopes that the exhibition will inspire other young people in the area to realise that they too can achieve their goals in the face of adversity”.

Written by markgillett

February 16, 2008 at 1:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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