A Wrexham finance firm worker has fulfilled a lifelong ambition to walk along the Great Wall of China raising a whopping £2,500 for a Wrexham hospice.
Steph Edwards, who is a paraplanner for Hadlow Edwards Wealth Management Ltd, based at the former Wrexham Lager brewery building, took part in a 20-mile charity trek in aid of Nightingale House Hospice during her recent visit to the longest wall in the world.
The 27-year-old had been looking to combine her desire to travel the world with an eagerness to challenge herself, and when Hadlow Edwards director Medwyn Edwards alerted her to the hospice’s first ever international fundraising trek she didn’t hesitate in putting her name forward.
The former Yale College student, who has recently gained a diploma in-house which means she is a fully qualified paraplanner, said: “I was looking at doing something similar on my own and started looking in to it last Christmas time.
“I’d been mulling it over and then when I went back in to work in the new year, Medwyn, who is a trustee for Nightingale House, put a notice up about the trek.
“This just made more sense because we work closely with Nightingale House and they are a local charity who are well known. It’s important for a lot of people so it was nice to do this for them.
“I like to challenge myself and the more life experiences I can get the better.
“I’ve always wanted to travel and see the world. I’ve only really started to do that the last three years.
“I’d always wanted to go to China and visit the Great Wall so I’m so glad I did it. It’s the furthest I’ve ever gone on my own and it was different to other trips.
“I’ve travelled to the Maldives and done city breaks but this was more active. I enjoy challenging myself and as a gym goer I was able to manage with the physical side of the trek.”
Steph, who joined Hadlow Edwards in May 2015, described the views on the trek as ‘breathtaking’ but admitted the Great Wall was nothing like she expected.
She said: “The experience was amazing. It’s made me want to do more. It was put together really well by the company who organised it.
“We met up with another British group who were doing it for different charities. There was a group of about 40 of us in total and it was a really good mix. The Great Wall of China was different to what I expected though.
“I expected it to be quite flat and samey throughout, nothing too strenuous. But it turned out to be a lot more challenging than I thought.
“There are so many steps! Some parts have been rebuilt or renovated in some way so it’s quite modern, but there are also some really run down parts.
“The older flooring is unsteady and some areas don’t have sides. Sometimes the drop down doesn’t seem so bad because of the trees but there are other parts where you really couldn’t look down!
“Some steps could be one inch high then the next one is as deep as up to your knee. It’s a constant effort.
“Getting up some of the slopes you need to take a run up and then I saw some people having to get on their hands and knees to get up the steps.
“The steps and gradient were very challenging. Sometimes you were concentrating on the steps so much you had to stop to make sure you took it in.
“The views were breathtaking. It was an unbelievable place to be at.”
Christine Dukes, grants and trust fundraiser at Nightingale House, said more than
£92,000 had been raised by the full team of Nightingale House trekkers with money still coming in.
“We are so very proud of Steph and the other 23 trekkers who took part in our first ever International Challenge.
“The trek on the Great Wall of China took them to parts of the wall seldom visited by people as well as those parts familiar to everyone.
“It was an extraordinary feat of endurance and endeavour and we would like to thank everyone most sincerely who trekked and everyone who supported them with sponsorship and messages of encouragement.
“It was a truly amazing experience for everyone involved.”