KARLEEN Colton and Anne Smith-Collins from Magherafelt are preparing for the challenge of a lifetime when they head off to China in September to trek the Great Wall in aid of children’s charity Barnardo’s.
Karleen and Anne work at Holy Family Primary School, Magherafelt and chose to undertake the trek in aid of Barnardo’s to raise money for a charity which makes a difference to local children’s lives. Anne also has first hand experience of the support Barnardo’s offers because it currently provides a playschool assistant for her niece who has cerebral palsy and Anne felt the trek was an opportunity to raise money and give something back.
Ahead of their trek Anne and Karleen recently visited Barnardo’s centre in Magherafelt to see for themselves the range of work the charity carries out.
Anne said: “I didn’t realise how many services Barnardo’s provides within the local area. The centre was really buzzing with staff all working to provide a variety of services for children and their families.”
While Karleen said it had been important to see they type of work that will benefit from their fundraising: “It was great to visit the Magherafelt Centre and get first-hand knowledge of the services provided locally and to find out what type of projects our fundraising will help.”
Barnardo’s has had a centre in Magherafelt for over 18 years and local manager Tony McGurk is delighted Karleen and Anne have chosen to strap on their walking boots in aid of Barnardo’s.
“Barnardo’s centre in Magherafelt is the base for a number of services we offer locally including our Young Carers service which offers a range of support for children and young people who help care for a parent. Our Choices Family Support Service which offers support for young people who have mental health problems or are at risk of offending or becoming homeless, and Time 4 Me which offers counselling to children in primary or special schools.”
Anne and Karleen will fly out to London on 23 September before meeting up with the rest of their team and flying on to Beijing ahead of tackling the Great Wall. The Trek itself will take 5 days and cover an average of 45 miles.
In preparation Anne and Karleen are currently taking spinning classes, spending weekends in The Sperrins and hiking in the Mournes. The pair have also been finding time in between all their training to fund-raise and a recent street collection in Magherafelt raised a fantastic £487.56 for which they would like to extend their thanks to everyone who donated.
If you would like to support Anne and Karleen’s Great Wall of China Trek in aid of Barnardo’s this September you can donate securely online by visiting: www.virginmoneygiving.com/anneandkarleen
For further information about Barnardo’s NI please visit: www.barnardos.org.uk/northernireland