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Vietnam Target For Hiker

5 March 2014

Karen Lewis, Costain Senior SHE Administrator at the London Bridge Station project, is pulling on her hiking boots once again as she prepares to raise more money for wounded military personnel charity, Help for Heroes.

Having previously tackled treks in the Sahara, Costa Rica and on Mount Everest – where she suffered from altitude sickness – she flies out to Vietnam on 30 March for a week-long, 100km slog through jungle, gullies and streams.

Karen is already within a whisker of the £10,000 she pledged to raise on the trip.

This will take the total amount she has raised for the charity in recent years to more than £50,000.

Karen has a personal interest in the charity. Her son, Craig, left the Army recently after five years with the Life Guards, including a gruelling tour of Afghanistan.

She expects to spend around £3,000 of her own money to take part in the trek, which will see around 30 volunteers slogging through a remote area of northern Vietnam where foreigners are rarely seen. Paying for the trip herself means that all money raised from donations goes to the charity.

She is currently preparing herself by walking around six miles daily between her home in Maidenhead and the train station, plus longer walks at weekends.

A recent weekend was spent with two friends hiking on the South Downs in abysmal weather. “It was so windy, we had to link arms to stop ourselves from being blown over,” she said.

Although her charity treks are the highlights of her fundraising year, she raises considerable sums through the age-old method of wielding a bucket to solicit donations in shops at weekends.

She finds the response from the public touching: “Children put in their pocket money, OAPs put in a lot. It worries me when I see a pensioner about to put in a £20 note and I always say ‘You do realise that’s a £20?’, because I’d hate them to get home and realise they had accidentally put in a large piece of their pension instead of a £5. But they always say ‘Yes, I know.

“I’ve also had wounded soldiers come up to thank me for my efforts. I say that it’s nothing to what they have done.”

Her colleagues on the Vietnam trek will include parents of soldiers and ex-Servicemen, but a lot “don’t even have any connection with the military. They just want to do something to help.”

Anyone wishing to contribute to Karen’s fundraising can do so at www.bmycharity.com/KarenLewisH4HVietnam2014