Taking on the Sahara Desert in aid of Spread a Smile

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In March 2024, Team Smile will head to Morocco for an incredible 5-day trek, covering 100km across the Sahara Desert. We spoke to Spread a Smile supporter and professional photographer, Simon Webb about why he is taking on this amazing challenge and helping to raise vital funds for our work spreading smiles to seriously ill children and young people.

How were first introduced to Spread a Smile?

“I was introduced to the charity through their CEO, Lucy Jackson. I’ve worked with Lucy for over 15 years as a photographer and was asked to do a shoot with the Spread a Smile entertainers at my studio in Camberwell. It was such a lovely day and the team were so wonderful. I found out more about the charity and what they do and was truly inspired.”

What motivated you to get involved with the charity?

“I loved working with the team and saw how amazing the work they do is. I do a lot of commercial work and it’s really nice to have the opportunity to use my skills as a photographer to give something back. I want to be able to help others in some way and this feels right. There is something lovely and really special about Spread a Smile and it’s clear that they make such a huge difference to so many people.”

What made you sign up for the Sahara Desert trek in aid of Spread a Smile?

“I love the desert – it’s so vast and open and it’s a wonderful place to go and be at one with yourself. Living in the London with all the noise and craziness, it’s good to find a place and time to think and reflect. I saw the trek mentioned on Instagram and I knew I wanted to do it. Life and work are always so busy and full and I instantly felt like it was what I needed to do – to support this wonderful charity and find space for myself. It feels like such an exciting adventure and it reminded me of all the stuff I loved doing when I was a boy – hiking, caving, being outdoors all the time – I felt a pull to get out there in the wild again. Being able to support an amazing charity like Spread a Smile at the same time makes the experience complete.”

What are you looking forward to the most?

“I’m looking forward to being away from my computer and phone (although naturally I’ll take the opportunity to capture some beautiful pictures). I’m excited to meet new people and have a whole new adventure. I’m ready for the challenge and looking forward to pushing myself. I’m already doing some outward-bound training and getting into that world a bit more. It’s going to be fun and so rewarding.

“I’m so pleased to be raising vital funds for Spread a Smile to help the families they support. To be able to help children who are seriously ill in hospital is really motivating. I can’t think of a better reason for doing it.”

What would you say to someone else thinking about signing up for the trek?

“Do it! It will be rewarding for you as an individual and also for all of the families you’ll be supporting. It’ll be such an adventure bringing positivity and happiness to everyone involved.”

Inspired by Simon? Join us from Saturday 2 March – Saturday 9 March 2024 for this incredible trek across the Sahara Desert in aid of Spread a Smile. Find the full itinerary and a short film here, or contact Rimi at fundraising@spreadasmile.org to join Team Smile today.

You can check out Simon’s photography skills here!