TWO brothers have completed a once-in-a-lifetime challenge to raise money for a special charity.
Richard and Nick Parker, from County Durham, have completed their 100-mile trek along the Great Wall of China.
The Easington Village pair arrived in Beijing last Monday and took five days to complete the challenge, which they did in memory of their mum, Gillian.
They initially set a £10,000 fund-raising target for Macmillan Cancer Support. When they exceeded that, the brothers upped it to £12,000 – which has also been smashed.
Richard is 44 this year – the same age his mum, a well-known Magistrate and Parish Councillor in Easington, was when she died from breast cancer in 1984.
During the mammoth walk, which was with a group of fellow Macmillan fund-raisers, the brothers conquered Heaven’s Ladder, a steep climb on the route involving around 2,000 steps.
“It’s been an emotional journey,” said Richard, who is licensee at JT Finns Irish Bar, in Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery.
“Not a day went by that I didn’t have a moment to myself and thought about how young my mother was when she died. I never realised at the time how young she was.
“I’ll never be able to put into words the experience I’ve had but, more importantly, remembering that we did it for a great cause, to help other people and families with the fight against cancer.”
At one point during the walk, trekkers lit a candle in memory of their loved ones – another “moving experience”.
The generous brothers have ensured all of the cash donated to their efforts goes straight to the charity by personally paying the £1,700 each required to cover the cost of their trip.
Race Nights, Sportsmen’s Dinners and a Boxing Day Dip at Seaham along with the Great Wall trek have helped them reach their target.
For more information about One In A Gillian, and to make a donation, go to www.oneinagillian.org. The brothers return to the UK on Sunday, and will hold a party at the Half Moon pub, Easington Village, to thank their supporters.