‘LIFE-CHANGING’ – that is the word one charitable trekker used to describe the Chestnut China Challenge.
Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice is the only facility of its kind in Sussex and offers vital support to children with life-limiting and terminally illnesses in the area.
And next year the charity, based in Poling near Arundel, will be hosting the opportunity of a lifetime offering people across the county a chance to trek the Great Wall of China, all to raise much-needed cash for the hospice.
With momentum for the campaign building, this paper has taken the chance to speak to one former trekker, who has tackled the wonders of the wall.
Sarah Cox, 28, of Broadwater, took on the challenge in 2010 for St Barnabas House hospice, which offers palliative care and end-of-life treatment to people across the county.
She said: “Friday, October 8, 2010, is a day that will stay in my mind for the rest of my life. It’s the day I completed the Great Wall of China Challenge with a group of amazing people – the dream team.
“After days of climbing thousands upon thousands of steps, we reached the end of our challenge with a mixture of jubilation, exhilaration and disbelief.
“Great is something of an understatement when describing the Great Wall of China. It is nothing less than spectacular. The majestic wall literally stretches as far as the eye can see, with perilously sloping walkways snaking through the undulating countryside and numerous watchtowers which make the perfect place to stop for photographs.
“The trek was very challenging – we were all surprised by just how steep some of the steps were, and the contrast between some sections of the wall, with some in a good condition and others crumbling underfoot making it quite tricky to navigate.”
She said that she has many memorable moments from her journey, from looking back and seeing the wall stretching off into the distance to getting the chance to see rural China in all its natural beauty.
However, she explained the day she climbed the wall’s Heavenly Ladder, a steep, crumbling stairwell of vertical steps, was the most awe-inspiring.
“I was breathless on reaching the top – not just because it was exhausting, but because the view took my breath away,” she said.
“We were up so high you could feel clouds around you and it really did feel like we were in heaven.”
The nine-day challenge will be taking place from October 10, 2015.
People keen on signing up need to raise a minimum of £2,800 – with a large portion of this cash going straight to the charity.
Trekkers’ fundraising efforts will be supported throughout the campaign by dedicated staff at the hospice.
For more details and to find out how to join the challenge, call 01903 706355, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/china