RAF Brampton team complete 230km trek across Nicaragua for charity

A NINE-STRONG team from Huntingdonshire battled tropical downpours and sweltering temperatures to complete a 230km charity trek across Nicaragua and stopped to help revamp an island school along the way.

Pete Brindley, Tom Evans, Natalie Bignell and Wendy Fieldhouse, who all work at the Joint Air Reconnaissance Imagery Centre (JARIC) at RAF Brampton, were joined by friends Steve Hersee, Paul Bedford, Susan Vaughn, Alda Alvaros and Abigail Lang for the Latin American challenge.

The team walked from San Juan del Sur on the coast of the Pacific Ocean to Bluefields on the Caribbean coast.

On the way, they crossed Lake Nicaragua to the island of Ometepe, where they worked for three days repairing and repainting equipment at Tilque School.

Their journey took the team through some very poor villages. For the final leg of the journey to Bluefields on the east coast, the team used a commercial ‘Panga’ or fast speed boat.

Before they left Nicaragua the team members donated the tents that they had used to the Disaster Relief Fund for use as emergency shelters during the hurricane season.

Pete said: “Keeping morale high and working together meant any difficulties were overcome, including tropical downpours, the daytime heat reaching 45 degrees C and an encounter with a large black spider.

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“The trek showed the team the Latin American culture and how friendly people can be who do not have very much in the form of material items.

“It was challenging but at the same time extremely rewarding and satisfying as the team walked across the largest country in Latin America.

“Would I do this again? In fact I am already in the initial planning stages doing something similar in another part of the world.”

The team self-funded the expedition and raised �450 to complete the repairs at Tilque School. It also raised �600 for the Seed International Fund Trust’s Ometepe Children’s Feeding and Nutrition Programme, �300 for Parkinson’s Disease and �1,000 for Help for Heroes.