From 26th October to 3rd November 2019, a team of 20, including staff and supporters, embarked on a once in a lifetime trip to China to tackle five sections of the Great Wall, raising funds for St Peter’s Hospice. It was the first overseas trip St Peter’s Hospice has ever organised, and collectively the group has raised an incredible £71,000 for their local hospice.
In the year leading up to the challenge, all of the team were incredibly creative in coming up with fundraising events and challenges. We saw a Dog Show, Quizzes, Race nights and even a ‘Fire Walk’ – which was as dare-devil as it sounds! For many, their fundraising efforts were inspired by loved ones who have been cared for by the Hospice.
After months of fundraising and preparation, finally the time had come for everyone to meet at the airport. Within a few hours, everyone was chatting as if they’d known each other for years, sharing their fundraising stories and personal motivations for taking part in the challenge.
Barely recovered from the jet lag, they stepped on to the wall for the first time and quickly realised it was going to be more challenging than they’d imagined, but also that the views were to be even more spectacular too.
Over the five challenging days of walking, so many of the team faced their fears and endured many ups and downs. The team walked along parts of the wall that had never been restored, with crumbling watch towers and drops on either side. The wall followed every curve of the landscape, with steep slopes to climb and scramble back down.
Despite the uneven and tough terrain, and as many as 1,000 steps to conquer at a time, everybody kept their spirits high. The incredible views, unwavering team work, and determination to make loved ones proud was more than enough to keep everyone going.
The week ended with a special moment, as each member of the team placed a brick on the Great Wall in memory of a loved one, with a message or photo left in the cement. This brick would always be a part of the wall, and be a lasting testament to their memory in a really beautiful, peaceful location.
Even after returning to England, the enthusiasm for fundraising hasn’t stopped and the group are continuing to challenge themselves – a skydive is already being planned! After such a memorable and inspiring week that meant so much to each member of the team, St Peter’s Hospice are excited to start planning the next overseas adventure.