Walk an achievement – stars on trek along Great Wall of China

JOB DONE: Mark Hutton, Karen Chesney and Mark O'Neill are pictured at the end of the marathon trek.
JOB DONE: Mark Hutton, Karen Chesney and Mark O'Neill are pictured at the end of the marathon trek.

A KIND-hearted auxilary nurse and a university student headed east for the challenge of a lifetime - a five-day charity trek across the Great Wall of China.

Karen Chesney (46) and Mark O’Neill (19) were part of a team of 11 Scots to embark on the adventure for the Marie Curie Hospice at Stobhill.

Mark Hutton (38), from Milton, also completed the marathon trek. The group raised more than £38,000 for the cancer care hospice.

They set off on October 1 for the amazing adventure in the Gubeikou region of China, outside Beijing.

They trekked between seven to eight hours each day in blistering temperatures and camped along the way.

Karen Chesney, from Kirkintilloch, is an auxillary nurse at the Marie Curie Hospice.

She was only asked to take part in the challenge six weeks beforehand, after her colleague had to pull out for personal reasons.

Karen said: “I was absolutely delighted to go.

“I had never done anything as challenging before. I’m a long distance walker, but I was not prepared for the challenges.

“The heat was very intense and the terrain was very steep. But the adrenaline kicked in and kept me going, along with the support of all the other people in the team.

“The views were amazing. I loved every second of it.”

Karen raised over £1,000 by completing the walk and her colleague also raised more than £3,500 for the charity.

Karen knows how important the money is for the hospice, which relies heavily on fundraising. Around £14,500 per day is needed to keep it running.

More than 70 per cent of the charity’s income comes from the generous support of thousands of individuals, membership organisations and businesses, with the balance of the funds coming from the NHS.

Karen added: “It’s a job I love, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

Mark O’Neill, a student at Strathclyde University, decided to take on the Great Wall of China challenge to give something back to the Marie Curie nurses who cared for his gran, Grace, at home before she passed away. He has raised a fantastic £4,800 for the hospice.

Mark said: “It was a brilliant experience with a great group of people.

“The older parts of the wall were rugged and it was a bit like rock climbing at times. It was difficult during the day with temperatures around 26 degrees, but I had an excellent time.”

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