Spalding-based detective's Sahara Desert Trek

A Spalding-based detective is just three weeks away from taking on her toughest case yet in the Sahara Desert. Sarah Draper (35) is in the final stages of her training for the 100km (62-mile) Sahara Desert Trek which starts in Morocco on September 30. But the challenge of temperatures that could range from 70 to 100 degrees fahrenheit (21 to 40 degrees celsius) is matched by Sarah’s determination to raise at least GBP3.000 for Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, now in its 25th year.

Sarah Draper (third right) with fellow Sahara Desert Trek adventurers at RAF Waddington, the home of Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance.

Sarah said: “The air ambulance service does a fantastic job and having been on the frontline of policing for so many years, I know that its medical crews are absolute heroes.

“I’ve attended incidents where you could hear the ambucopter coming and I’ve thought ‘Thank God’ because although police officers are trained in giving emergency first aid, we’re not equipped to save lives.

“But when the air ambulance crew comes, it’s like watching a well-oiled machine and they can do things so effectively that it’s like having a accident and emergency department at the scene.”

Sarah Draper was taken to hospital for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance after she was involved in a cycling accident in 2011.Photo (TIM WILSON): SG-050919-025TW

Sarah’s respect for the life-saving charity is also based on her own experience of the service after a potentially life-threatening accident in September 2011. “To this day I can’t remember exactly what happened,” Sarah said.

“I’d been on a camping holiday in Derbyshire where one of the activities was a cycle ride around Carsington Water. “I was riding along a cyclepath and the next thing I knew was me being on the ground, with my cycle helmet split apart.

Sarah Draper (third right) with other volunteers for the Sahara Desert Trek at RAF Waddington where Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance is based.Photo supplied.

“Because of where I was, the air ambulance couldn’t get to me, so a paramedic car came instead and I was put on a stretcher before being loaded into the back of a park ranger’s truck to be driven to where the ambucopter had landed.

“The accident happened soon after I’d joined Lincolnshire Police but apart from concussion, the only injury I had was a broken joint in my collarbone.

“I remember the devastation of thinking that my dream of being a police officer may be over. “But the hospital staff told me that had I not been wearing a cycle helmet, I would have died due to the impact of the accident.”

DC Sarah Draper is hosting a race night at West Pinchbeck Village Hall on Saturday, September 21, at 7pm.Photo (TIM WILSON): SG-050919-028TW

Before the Sahara Desert Trek, Sarah took advantage of record temperatures over the August Bank Holiday weekend when she did a 16-mile walk around Rutland Water. “It was as close as I’ll get to the conditions I’ll face in Morocco and I was carrying a full-sized backpack as well,” Sarah said.

“Even though I got to the gym regularly because of my job for which I need to stay fit, the walk was tough and after I did it, it really hit home what I’d signed up for in the Sahara Desert.

Rutland Water and its Normanton Church.

“It’ll be about 15 miles a day and I’ll have to put my own tent up, make my own evening meals and get up at 6am to follow the guides and camels. “I’ve never done anything like this before, but it’s trip of a lifetime for me and I’ve always wanted to visit Marrakech which is where we fly to on September 30. “I can’t wait for the trek and I’m so excited because I’ve really given it my all, in terms of training and fundraising.

Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance has carried out more than 20,000 missions in its 25-year history.Photo supplied.

“A big part of that is because Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance is such a good cause and such a vital resource that anybody could need at any time.”

Since it was launched in 1994, Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance has been called out to more than 20,potentially life-saving missions, an average of three incidents a day. Sarah said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by how much people have donated and by what they’ve been prepared to do to support me.

Detective Constable Sarah Draper prepared for her Sahara Desert Trek with a 16-mile walk around Rutland Water during the August Bank Holiday weekend.Photo (TIM WILSON): SG-050919-027TW

“There have been a few anonymous donations online and a few from people in the police service who know me. “I’m Lincolnshire born and bred, a farmer’s daughter who went to school in Spalding, and I really enjoy the fact that I’m working in my local town which I serve.

“But in a community like this, where the road network isn’t the best, the air ambulance is invaluable because it doesn’t differentiate between any particular health problem.

Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance gets no direct funding from the Government.Photo by Ed Hicks.

“Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance is a charity that receives no direct government funding, but it’s essential.” To sponsor Sarah, go to .

Sarah is hosting a race night for Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance at West Pinchbeck Village Hall on Saturday, September 21, at 7pm. Tickets priced GBP5, which includes a burger or hot dog, can be bought at Something Special coffee shop in Knight Street, Pinchbeck. Sahara Trek Challenge for Sutterton friends

Spalding police officer to go on 100km Sahara Desert Trek for air ambulance

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