A PUB boss from South Tyneside is heading for a dry spell – by trekking across the Sahara for a vital cause.
Caring Mark Hagan has signed up for a gruelling nine-day walk through the desert to raise funds for the Help for Heroes charity.
The father-of-one, from Jarrow, agreed to tackle the challenge as a tribute to his father-in-law, Tony Parkinson, a Second World War veteran, who died last year.
Mr Hagan, 34, said: “I heard about the Help for Heroes Sahara Desert Trek and thought it would be something I would like to do.
“My father-in-law died last year and was a Second World War veteran.
“I was trying to think of something I could do as a fitting tribute. You need to raise £1,200 to take part and my target is £2,500.
“I have already raised £700 and have held raffles at the pub to boost the total, which has been a big help.”
Mr Hagan, duty manager of the Lakeside pub, Fellgate, Jarrow, is hoping the English heatwave takes hold as he prepares to complete an epic mission in sweltering conditions.
He also knows that plummeting temperatures in the desert at night will also be a challenge during the trip, which takes place from November 14 to November 23.
Mr Hagan added: “I have been keeping an eye on the weather over there and it is still 25 to 30 degrees centigrade even at 10pm. But as well as the heat, it goes very cold later at night.
“It has been a bit strange going in the shop to buy a fleece in the middle of a hot summer, especially when it is for the Sahara.”
The charity champion’s next fundraising bid will be a Race Night at the pub on August 15.
The evening will be under starters’ orders at 7pm, with tickets priced at £5.
All proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the daunting desert challenge.
Mr Hagan, who lives with wife Julia, 40, and their three-year-old son Luke, will take in stony flat expanses of land to wind-blown sand dunes, over the course of nine days with more than 50 other intrepid traveller.
Starting off at M’Hamid in Morocco, the energy-sapping trip ends in Marrakech, after nearly 40 hours of travelling – both on foot and by camel.
Mr Hagan says he is starting “cold” on his incredible charity challenge – having never previously taken any long-distance treks.
He is slowly building up his training by taking long walks on the beach and is hoping for more hot weather to give him a taste of the conditions to come.
Supporters can donate to the cause by using the Just Text Giving service.
Text HAGN99 followed by a donation of your choice to the number 70070. For example, text HAGN99 £5.
Mark is also hoping South Tyneside businesses will sponsor his clothing during his journey across the desert.
His pictures will be shared across social media, giving thousands a chance to see the company logo in a unique setting.
Businesses interested in sponsoring Mark can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org