Paul and Brendan conquer the Inca Trail challenge and raise over £6,000 for Prospect Hospice

January 2019


An earthquake and altitude sickness didn’t stop two fundraisers from Swindon from climbing Machu Picchu and raising funds for Prospect Hospice in memory of a much loved wife and sister.

Brothers-in-law Paul Bassett (pictured, second left) and Brendan O’Neill (pictured, far left) completed the 55km challenge in the summer of 2018 with Global Adventure Challenges, which consisted of five days trekking to reach the top of the Peruvian landmark. Between them, they raised a total of £6,349.16 for the hospice who cared for Paul’s wife, and Brendan’s sister, Claire.

“The Incas used to walk to Machu Picchu as a test, to try to reach the sun god, which at over 4,000 metres is a huge test,” said Paul. “You walk, eat, sleep and walk again, sometimes up to 11 hours a day. I suffered from altitude sickness, as did a lot of the walkers, but I was determined to complete the journey so that I could sprinkle some of Claire’s ashes there.”

For Brendan, who lost a stone climbing Machu Picchu, the camaraderie of the challenge stayed with him for months afterwards. “Everyone was amazing and there are so many people who we still keep in touch with,” he said. “We had a guide called Reuben who was just incredible and so kind: one woman had her climbing boots stolen, so Reuben gave her his boots and he wore trainers to climb.”

“There’s a word the guides used – ‘wawqi’ (pronounced ‘way-kee’) – which means ‘brother’,” Paul added. “We all called each other this so that we felt like one big family.”

This isn’t the first fundraising challenge completed by Paul and Brendan in support of Prospect Hospice. Brendan trekked the Grand Canyon and both did a charity Zumba class dressed as superheroes. Together, with the help of family, friends and colleagues, they have raised nearly £20,000 for the hospice.

“People comment on the amount of money we raised, but to us it’s a target to pay back the amount it cost the hospice to care for Claire,” said Brendan. “A challenge like this is about receiving as well as giving. You gain so much self-worth by overcoming challenges and making new friends along the way.”

Community Fundraiser Alex Cooper (pictured, far right) added: “Paul and Brendan have taken on a mammoth challenge for Prospect Hospice in memory of Claire and we cannot thank them enough for their amazing efforts. They have raised such an incredible amount through this challenge and previous ones. We are so thrilled that they have gained so much from their experiences including long lasting friendships, personal victories and some excellent mountain side cooking! Well done to both men – we think you are truly incredible.”

Back to News