Anna & Oli to take on 180km fundraising trek

Anna and Oli Lees are raising funds for the new hospice by trekking the ‘Grand Randonnée 20’, (GR20 for short), in the first two weeks of June 2019. The trek takes place on the Mediterranean island of Corsica and is 180km long. It takes in 19,000 meters of ascent and descent, including an ascent of Monte Cinto, Corsica’s highest mountain, at 2,706 meters.

The route includes high mountain passages, swinging rope bridge crossings, mountain scrambles and many miles of rugged trekking. Anna and Oli will be trekking unsupported and camping for the duration; carrying everything they need on their persons. The trek takes around 15 days and is rated as ‘very difficult’; requiring proficiency in navigation, equipment carriage and nutrition, over rugged terrain and varied climates.

The trek is being fully funded by Anna and Oli and they are aiming to raise £1,000 for Priscilla Bacon Hospice. The cause is important to them, as Oli’s Uncle, Stephen Doughty, spent his final days being cared for in Priscilla Bacon Lodge in 2018. Oli says, “After an ongoing fight with cancer which he tackled with stoicism, humour and courage, he passed away just a few days before Christmas. The hospice staff were amazing and showed incredible support and comfort to Stephen and his family during one of life’s biggest challenges. Stephen was discharged from his first stay, which is a testament to his fighting spirit and will be a point worthy of note when our trek gets difficult.

Stephen was a keen sportsman and completed a number of athletic charitable events in his life for the benefit of others, so we feel that an epic adventure to raise money and remember Stephen is in order. The trek will take much preparation and will not be easy, this is the toughest trail in Europe after all. It will be a true challenge for us and will test our bodies and minds to their limits. We will post regular updates throughout our journey and share our story; we ask that in return, people donate what they can to help motivate us along the way.”

Stephen’s daughter, Georgina, also shared some words about the care Stephen and his family received: “The first time Dad was in Priscilla Bacon Lodge,  they made him comfortable and he was genuinely happy to be in there, despite putting up a bit of a fight initially. They helped my Mum so much, as it gave her the respite she needed. Poor Dad had gotten so weak at home, as it was impossible for Mum to work full time and care for Dad in the way he needed. He loved the free biscuits and was often found flirting with the nurses!

The second time Dad was in there, we knew he wasn’t coming home. The end-of-life care he received was outstanding and as a family we can’t thank them enough for the care they provided. Every staff member we met was truly amazing and I think they deserve a medal! The new hospice can only be a good thing and will be brilliant for the residents and people who work there. They offered us support afterwards too, so even when your loved one has passed away, they’re still there for you.”

You can sponsor Anna and Oli by visiting their Just Giving page here and they also have an Instagram account here, where they are sharing updates on their progress in the lead up to and during their trek.