Being blown away by the thrill of climbing a wall isn’t usually something grown-ups admit to but then the wall Clitheroe’s Sue Laycock and Gillian Newton, West Bradford’s David Bristol and Bolton-by-Bowland’s Chrissie Baines have just climbed is the Great Wall of China!
The foursome spent six days trekking the wall as part of a 17-strong expedition party raising money for Rosemere Cancer Foundation – an endeavour that look sets to achieve around £30,000 for the charity when all sponsorship and Gift Aid donations are collected in.
The group flew to Beijing and then headed north to follow the wall for between four to seven hours a day as it snaked through woods and terraced farmlands in the remote Chinese countryside. When the others flew home, Gillian and Chrissie, who has a cleaning company, stayed on for an extra three days to visit the city of Xian and its famous Terracotta Army.
Gillian, who worked as marketing director for a Skipton-based medical devices company until she retired in April, said: “I had been to China a number of times on business but I had never experienced it at its best, which is how it was on this fantastic trip.
“To spend time in the countryside and with ordinary Chinese people was incredible. At one point, a man insisted I had my photo taken holding his baby as I’m blonde and away from the business world, it is still novel for people to see blondes in real life. I did this trek because I wanted to mark my retirement by giving something back but I got a tremendous amount from it, as did we all.”
It was Sue who first told her friends Gillian and Chrissie about the trip. Embarking on it was also a celebration of being retired for her too. A former primary school teacher, mum-of-two and keen walker Sue retired three years ago and became a supporter of Rosemere Cancer Foundation to help other friends, who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Sue said: “It was fantastic. Everyone in the group got on well, the guides were excellent, the weather perfect.
“It couldn’t have gone better. For me, I was just glad we flew out when we did as my son James and his partner Sarah had their second son Charlie and my sixth grandchild just days before we left so I was able to see him before I went.”
Father-of-three and gardener David, who runs his own garden maintenance and landscaping company, D.S. Bristol Ltd, and is another committed Rosemere Cancer Foundation supporter, added: “The scenery was spectacular, especially in all its autumn colours. I have been lucky enough to go to New England for the fall and this was just as good if not better.”
The trekking party was assembled by Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s head of fundraising and included Rosemere Cancer Centre consultants Dr Gerry Skailes and Dr Jeyaram Srinivasan, whose wife Krishna was also a group member.
To support the Ribble Valley trekkers, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/susan-laycock, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-bristol or www.justgiving.cm/fundraising/Gillian-Newton2