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Fundraisers in virtual trek from Penarth to Patagonia

Val Rogers

A group of charity trekkers whose fundraising plans have had to be adapted following lockdown, are taking on a virtual trek – from Penarth to Patangonia.

Two groups will be heading out to the Argentinian region in November 2021, in a trip organised by and to raise money for Marie Curie in Wales.

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end of life charity, providing support to people living with a terminal illness at its Cardiff and the Vale Hospice in Penarth and in communities across Wales.

When the trek was announced, it was so popular the organisation had to arrange two separate trips to the region, famous for its Welsh settlement Y Wladfa, established in 1865 when around 160 people from various parts of Wales sailed from Liverpool aboard the Mimosa.  They settled in the Chubut Valley in Southern Argentina, where a culturally vibrant Welsh-Argentinian population still thrives today in the heart of Patagonia.

But plans for fundraising events for the trekkers have had to be reinvented since lockdown – something the charity’s fundraising team are supporting the group of 60 with.

One of those fundraising activities is a challenge calling on the group to collectively cover 7524 miles – the distance between Wales and Patagonia – during lockdown.

So far they’ve reached more than 1100 miles – or the distance from Penarth to Morocco.

Sara Bass, fundraising manager for Wales, said: “We’re asking our trekkers to include mileage from their daily exercise following government guidance, and they can include any form of walk, run or cycle.

“Miles covered in work and around the house are included, as this is a group effort and everyone’s circumstances are different, as we have key workers who are also part of our trekking group.

“Everyone is still so enthusiastic about the treks and doing what they can to continue their fundraising efforts while we’re in lockdown, and we’re so glad we can continue to support them through these difficult times.”

Val Rogers signed up to the trek in her 60th year, having done a series of charity treks last year.

“I got the bug,” said Val, who was due to do the Trek du Mont Blanc in July, which has been postponed.

“It’s great to have a focus in these difficult times.  My allowable daily exercise from the door has included cycling, jogging and walking in all directions through Cardiff’s many beautiful green open spaces, as well as Cardiff Bay, the Taff Trail, the Glamorganshire canal, the Ely trail, the Garth, Castell Coch woods and the Wenallt.

“I often combine these with delivering shopping to my 89-year-old father-in-law, key worker son who is working in a residential home and my daughter who has an immune disorder.”

She said she hopes to learn more about an area of the world she’s never visited before during the trek and looks forward to meeting and sharing the experience with the other trekkers.

The Patagonia Trek for Marie Curie in Wales takes place across two treks in November and December 2021.  Both treks are now full, but interest is being taken via a waiting list.