Earlier this month I was lucky enough to attend the Great Wall of China Trek as the Band of Sisters support rep and what an amazing experience it was!
On Friday 23rd September we arrived at Heathrow Airport looking very fresh faced and clean in our bright red Help for Heroes tops, and what a god send they were as none of us really knew each other! At least in our colourful tops we were easily identifiable and it meant it was a lot easier for Jess Clews (Challenges and Events rep) and I to keep track of 35 very excited fundraisers, BoB & BoS!
We spent the most of the flight getting to know each other and for the majority of the fundraisers this was their first Help for Heroes Trek so for them being able to chat to Band of Brothers and Sisters and finding out where their money goes was very enlightening.
We finally arrived in Beijing some 24 hours later to be greeted by two very happy Chinese men – Alan and Dennis – who would be our guides for the next 10 days and had the hardest job of all - keeping us all safe on the wall and making sure we were all happy trekkers.
We arrived out our accommodation in pitch black so had no idea of the surroundings, and it was a welcome surprise to all! We had duvets, a toilet, electricity and hot running water... all things we didn’t know if we would be lucky to have. Dinner that evening was an interesting combination of chicken nuggets and chips, rice, tofu and vegetables. Throughout the next few days this seemed to be the norm for dinner (and occasionally breakfast!)
The next few days comprised of early starts, trekking from 4-9hours, sunsets, sunrises, amazing views, camp fires and karaoke in the evening and a great sense of achievement and pride, friendships were forming and the group were working as one team. The days were spent chatting to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds but we all had a few things in common: Help for Heroes, a passion for trekking and the ultimate goal of trekking 80K across The Great Wall.
We made it to Friday (finale day) without any broken bones, injuries or arguments, where the group were presented with a Help for Heroes medal, some warm Chinese Champagne and more importantly that sense of achievement and my goodness it was something to be proud of! In total we climbed a staggering 13,070 flights of stairs and walked over 120,000 steps.
On descending the Wall, the surprises weren’t over for one Band of Sister, as unbeknown to her, her boyfriend had flown out the previous evening ready to pop the question! Congratulations to Abigail Baker and Chris Fazakerley on your engagement. It was a magical and moment for them (and us) and what a great engagement story to be able to tell!
After a great celebration meal and a very cultural day in Beijing we sadly had to return home. Friendships were formed, challenges were accomplished, memories were made and dreams were made possible.
Thank you to all who took part in the Great Wall of China Trek 2016, you made it an incredible experience for me as a rep, you raised a fantastic amount of money for Help for Heroes and you all achieved something incredible which you should be so incredibly proud of!
Fundraiser Barbara said the trek was “a wonderful, exciting adventure which enabled me to participate in an activity I would never have dreamed possible."
If you would like to get involved in a Help for Heroes challenge please contact the events and challenges team on 01725 514106 or click here.
What’s coming up?
- BoS Craft workshop on Monday 21st November from 1030 – 1230 at Chavasse VC House.
- Save the date ‘Blokes’ Christmas Party at Chavasse VC House on Thursday 8th December and the Families Christmas Party on Thursday 15th December. Both will be held at Chavasse VC House and timings will be confirmed in an email.
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