Trekking the Great Wall of China for St Barnabas

13th February 2023

Group of people holding blue St Barnabas flag on the Great Wall of China, with blue sky and mountains in background

In 2019, longstanding St Barnabas Hospice volunteer Jim Ferguson took on a truly spectacular challenge; walking the Great Wall of China in support of his favourite charity.

Jim was 74 years old at the time and had recently retired from a demanding career. Full of beans, fit and healthy, he decided it was now or never to take on this incredible adventure.

After he signed up for the trek, Jim became part of a team of five which included fellow supporters and St Barnabas fundraising staff members Caroline Swindin and Rebecca Hooton. The group walked more than 75km in five days, trekking for 35 hours in that time and totalling 128,000 steps, according to one person’s Fitbit.Man wearing grey hat and red T-shirt and black gloves on Great Wall of China, holding the wall, with mountains in background

In some places on the Wall, the team were walking on unrestored sections which were less than a metre wide and had sheer drops on either side. They stayed with local lodges each night, immersed themselves in the local culture and sampled a whole range of local delicacies during their stay – Jim tried chicken feet in batter but not all his companions joined him in this venture!

A grand total of £19,500 was raised by the team to support Hospice care in their local community and they also planted two trees in the name of St Barnabas as part of China’s reforesting project.

Jim says: “I had been volunteering for St Barnabas for some years, driving patients to and from our Wellbeing Centre in Grantham. That is very rewarding, and I love doing it, but raising money by being part of this unique adventure was something else altogether.

Group of people holding blue St Barnabas flag on Great Wall of China with mountain in background“After retiring I finally had time on my hands, and I’m lucky enough to enjoy good health. St Barnabas is a local and very worthwhile charity, so when the call for supporters to take on this crazy challenge came up, I thought ‘bingo, this is it!’

“It was a fantastic opportunity to visit China and challenge myself in a completely new way. At times the trek was close to brutal, but I don’t regret a second of it. On the final day we were able to play tourist and visit the beautiful city of Bejing, including Tiananmen square, the Imperial Ancestral Temple and other incredible areas.

“I raised £3,450, thanks to the generosity of family, friends and many others.

“To anyone considering taking on a challenge that’s beyond their comfort zone I’d say don’t even hesitate. Go out and push the boundaries. The experience, euphoria and sense of achievement is unforgettable!”Group of people holding blue St Barnabas flag on the Great Wall of China, with blue sky and mountains in background

St Barnabas Hospice are not offering the Great Wall of China trek this year, but there are plenty of challenges to participate in and support the charity. From running marathons to sky diving, walking on fire or on the wings of a plane, St Barnabas have plenty of adventures lined up.

Or if you have something already in mind, the charity’s Fundraising team can help you set up your own challenge and support you every step of the way.

To find out more about St Barnabas challenges, visit:

Fundraise for us

Support your local Hospice by taking part in one of our pre-organised challenges, or take on your own! You will receive support along every step of the way!

Learn more about Fundraising


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