Travel agent Heather Kerr is stepping up her training for an arduous charity trek across the Sahara Desert to raise funds for Ayrshire Hospice.

The manager of LAH Travel in West Kilbride was inspired to embark on the challenge after seeing how the hospice supported a close friend during her final months with cancer.

Last year, Heather and her colleagues took part in the Kilt Walk from Clydebank to Loch Lomond which sparked her interest in charity challenges.

She will fly to Morocco in October for the eight-day desert trek, walking for six hours each day, and sleeping in tents overnight.

To help raise awareness and more funds towards her target of £3,000, she will be holding a charity evening with live music in her hometown of Irvine on February 1.

“Lots of people have donated already and it was in the local papers too,” she said.

“We have had clients coming into the shop to donate – it’s amazing.”

She has also been “overwhelmed” by the support of travel companies who have given hampers and other goodies as raffle prizes for her fundraising evening.

“Loganair have donated free flights and I have Disney goodies to raffle off too, along with chocolates and wine for the hampers from other travel companies,” she said.

Heather is already a keen walker and takes her dog Blossom to the beach each day – but is now training harder with gym sessions and a personal trainer, who has urged her to run up the sand dunes to boost her strength and stamina.

“I am very determined to do this – it will be emotional though. I wanted to give something back to the hospice,” she added.

To help Heather reach her target, she can be contacted at LAH Travel or donations can be made via her Just Giving page.