A team of 51 consultants and head office staff from Not Just Travel battled exhausting conditions to raise thousands of pounds on a trek in Colombia.

They estimate they will raise £20,000 to £25,000 for mental health charity Mind when all the pledged donations are collected.

The five-day trek took them from the Colombian coast through remote jungle terrain to Cuidad Perdida – the Lost City – thought to be 650 years older than Machu Picchu in Peru.

They were raising money for several causes but most were supporting Mind, because the Bournemouth-headquartered agency group has pledged to raise £50,000 this year for the charity.

Not Just Travel co-founder Steve Witt has chosen Mind because his brother and business partner Robin was diagnosed with rapid onset frontal temporal dementia aphasia at the age of 42.

Robin, a father of two young children, has now lost the ability to communicate and needs full-time care.

As well as raising funds, Steve hopes to raise awareness of the rare form of dementia.

Unfortunately, Steve had to cancel plans to join the trek because he had to deal with the aftermath of Thomas Cook’s collapse as well as helping care for Robin.

“It was a tougher challenge than expected, but the team did brilliantly,” he said.

“It’s an incredible testament to their determination that they have pushed through and helped to raise so much money.

“It’s been great to see the updates from everyone and see their willpower to succeed and help so many good causes, especially Mind.”

Gabrielle Dearling, marketing manager at Not Just Travel, added: “It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done.

“I felt prepared with my training, but I couldn’t have prepared for the weather – torrential rain and 35-degree heat and humidity.

“We all made it to the Lost City at the same time and we felt so euphoric. Everyone said a few words and we got quite emotional.”

The trek was organised in partnership with G Adventures and the Charity Challenge. The team visited G Adventures in Toronto after the trek was completed.

To donate to the fundraising effort, click here.

Photograph by Not Just Travel/The Travel Franchise

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