Nurses tackle largest hot desert in the world for local hospice care

Two dedicated nurses who work for a local hospice charity will be making every step count as they take on a Sahara trek challenge in support of the care they provide.

Janet Taylor-Fane and Maureen Fitzpatrick, who work at Southend-based Fair Havens, part of Havens Hospices, will be jetting off to Morocco for a week in March to tackle 60 miles in challenging landscapes and soaring temperatures up to 40°C.

Every pound they raise in sponsorship will help to support local people of all ages living with incurable conditions, helping them and their families to make the most of every day, including when the end of life is in sight.

As a charity, Havens Hospices must raise more than £124,000 a week to be there for everyone who needs them in the community and it is the support from fundraisers like this which ensures this continues.

As part of this adventure of a lifetime, Janet and Maureen will spend four days trekking across ancient dried-up river beds, sand dunes and vast sun-baked plains. They will camp each night in 0°C temperatures giving them a chance to experience the stunning stars in the clear night sky and enjoy the freshly cooked Berber cuisine to immerse themselves in the local culture.

Another special part of this challenge will see Janet and Maureen make a difference at a Community Project in Marrakech. They will spend two days getting involved with refurbishment, redecorating and gardening to help support an organisation that assists vulnerable young people with education and vocational training.

Janet, 48 from Southend, who has been working for Havens Hospices for seven years, said, “I have never done anything like this before so I’m terrified but I know that in the difficult circumstances that we might face, we will have lots of memories of patients that we’ve nursed and have been a continued inspiration to me. I know that will be our strength to get across the finish line!

She continued, “This trek will test not only my physical fitness but also my mental endurance. Trekking 20K a day in very hot temperatures will definitely be a challenge.

“Havens Hospices is a charity close to my heart. Not only do I work at such a wonderful place but I have also had my own friends and family that have needed the care and support of the hospice. The care provided had a huge impact on them and my own family. The services delivered were outstanding and I want other people to understand that a hospice is not just a place to die but a place to learn how to live again with the right support.

“The charity plays such a vital role in our community, so I want to give back and raise awareness of the work we do and how vital donations are.”

Maureen, who has worked at Fair Havens for four months said, “My love for palliative care came from a very young age living in Ireland and visiting the local nursing home with my mother who was also a nurse.

“I wanted to become a part of Havens Hospices because of my passion for end-of-life care – making things easier for patients and their families by being there for them, a listening ear and supporting them in any way they need. I’m also doing the trek in memory of my sister and brother who inspired me to also work in palliative care and to be able to help make a difference in a patient’s last weeks and days.

“I love nature and being outdoors, and love a challenge! I’m very proud to be part of an amazing team and will look forward to coming back to share the amazing stories and memories of the trip. There is no better woman to do this challenge with than Janet. Every donation makes such a difference to Havens Hospices and local families, so please support us in any way you can.”

To support Janet and Maureen with a donation, visit

Published 2nd February 2024 

Contact us
Nurses, Janet and Maureen, on Southend beach with the trekking gear.