St Catherine’s hikers back from Vietnam fundraising trek

St Catherine's Hospice trekkers in Vietnam - the charity's first overseas challenge - picture submitted

St Catherine's Hospice trekkers in Vietnam - the charity's first overseas challenge - picture submitted

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St Catherine’s Hospice Vietnam Trekkers have returned from their trip with ‘memories that will last a lifetime’.

Last month they spent five days hiking through the remote and beautiful hills of Northern Vietnam in the Pù Luông Nature Reserve in 38 degree heat.

St Catherine's Hospice trekkers in Vietnam - the charity's first overseas challenge - picture submitted

St Catherine's Hospice trekkers in Vietnam - the charity's first overseas challenge - picture submitted

The route took them through jungles, they met local villagers, slept in local home stays, reached the top of a mountain and celebrated with a dip in a waterfall, and experienced delicious Vietnamese food.

Among the ‘Hanoi Hikers’ were seven people from Crawley - Gerry Baker, Tori Bailey, Jane Bond-Roberts, Kelly Doughton, Janet Mayhew, Sharon Anderson and Jan Sullivan.

Gerry was walking in memory of his wife, Teresa, who was cared for by St Catherine’s. He is now a volunteer gardener and street collector for St Catherine’s.

He said: “The enormity of what we have achieved in completing our own personal challenges and the achievement of the whole group working together on behalf of St Catherine’s will take some time to sink in.

St Catherine's Hospice trekkers in Vietnam - the charity's first overseas challenge - picture submitted

St Catherine's Hospice trekkers in Vietnam - the charity's first overseas challenge - picture submitted

“The personal memories will last a lifetime.

“I’d like to thank everyone that has supported me, especially my fellow trekkers and the support team in Vietnam who made the once in a lifetime experience, and carried me through a challenge that was tougher than I had envisaged.

“And one of the best bits was coming home to the joy and warmth of the reception for us all at the hospice.”

Taking part with him were Heather Doughton-Pearce from Copthorne, Verity Keys of Salfords, Linda Parker from Balcombe, Kieran O’Sullivan from East Grinstead, Naomi Southcombe and Nancy Conway from Hassocks, Philip Goerlach from East Grinstead, and St Catherine’s events fundraiser Michaela Clements.

St Catherine's Hospice trekkers in Vietnam - the charity's first overseas challenge - picture submitted

St Catherine's Hospice trekkers in Vietnam - the charity's first overseas challenge - picture submitted

The hospice welcomed them home with a well-earned ‘trek-fast’ of pastries, bacon rolls and Prosecco. Claire Irving, director of fundraising at St Catherine’s, gave a rousing speech that thanked them for all their efforts.

For each hour they walked, the team funded five hours of at home care for a patient by St Catherine’s community nursing team, allowing them to benefit from specialised end of life care and support in the comfort of their own homes.

The trek is on track to raise £50,000 and it is not too late to show support for the team.

To do so visit the team’s JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/HanoiHikers

If you’re inspired to join a future overseas challenge for St Catherine’s register your interest by calling Michaela Clements on 01293 583063.

The hospice is also getting ready for its annual Midnight Walk on July 2 and is appealing for volunteers on the night to do everything from meet and greet, marshall the route and decorate before. If you can help contact Hannah Cooke on 01293 447364.