Charity trek just grand!

A SENIOR manager at Newbattle Abbey College is “thrilled” to be back on home soil after raising more than £166,000 for charity by trekking through the Grand Canyon.

Jackie Robertson (54) completed the impressive feat alongside a team of 40 other intrepid trekkers.

The group spent six days in October hiking through the dramatic American landscape in aid of charity Marie Curie Cancer Care.

She said: “It was absolutely exhausting at times. Last year, I spent three days trekking through Jordan for Marie Curie Cancer Care and that was tiring enough, but this was even tougher.

“We spent six days travelling through a national park, past waterfalls and up and down cliff faces. At times, we were trekking pretty much non-stop for nine hours.

“It was a real challenge, but everyone achieved it and we’re all incredibly proud.”

The money raised will be shared between Marie Curie Cancer Care hospices in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The charity – one of the UK’s largest – provides end-of-life care for terminally ill patients either at their home or in a dedicated hospice.

It costs more than £41,000 a day to run the charity’s nine hospices across the UK so the organisation is heavily dependent on donations and fundraising work. Jackie – pictured during her Jordan trip –said: “I first decided to help Marie Curie Cancer Care after my friend passed away in their Edinburgh hospice.

“She was only 53 years old and suffered cancer. Hospitals are great but they’re often quite stretched and can’t provide such dedicated assistance to terminally ill patients.

“When my friend went to the hospice the quality of support she received was simply amazing.

“After her death I started some occasional voluntary work for the charity but I felt it wasn’t enough so I decided to take part in a trek in Jordan.

“I raised a great deal of money and that spurred me on to do this year’s trek through the Grand Canyon.

“The fundraising can be difficult but I found that my friends and family really supported me and were happy to donate.

“I would urge anyone who’s thinking of doing something for charity to go for it. I certainly won’t rule out another big challenge in the future.”