Funds flying in for Jessica

Jess Thompson is taking on the Chestnut Tree China challenge. Photo by Derek Martin

Jess Thompson is taking on the Chestnut Tree China challenge. Photo by Derek Martin

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Keen runner Jessica Thompson has got off to a flying fundraising start after she joined the Chestnut Tree House China Challenge.

The 23-year-old, from Littlehampton, may have only signed up for the Poling-based children’s hospice’s Great Wall of China trek just over a month ago.

But she has already raised about £400 of the £2,800 minimum sponsorship target – with plenty more fundraising ideas still left in the melting pot.

Jessica, of Snowdrop Close, said: “I am quite excited. I would like it to be this October and not next year because it still feels like it is a long time away. But I’m really looking forward to it.”

So far, almost 30 people have joined the Chestnut China Challenge. The aim of the nine-day adventure, which will be held from October 10, next year, is to raise enough money to pay for all the hospice’s bills and treatment costs for the entire duration of the trip. Jessica, a former student at both the Littlehampton Community School and Chichester College, was inspired to join the trek when her mum saw it on Facebook.

Jessica had never realised people could actually walk along the wall but she had always wanted to see it. Realising this was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’, she instantly requested more information from the charity, attended an open evening and signed up, there and then.

“I just thought that Chestnut Tree House was amazing,” she said. “When I visited the hospice in August I got to see all the work they did to help make the lives of children better. I just knew I had to do something.”

So far she has held a bingo night at the Vadar VIP Club and Restaurant, Littlehampton, as well as a car boot sale and cake sale. She is now readying herself to host a Hallowe’en and karaoke party at the Vadar, on October 31. The ‘spooktacular’ event is open to all and will kick-off from 8pm. Those joining the action can make a donation to sing – or pay to kick those who are already singing off the stage. She is also planning a quiz night, auction evening and family party later this year. Jessica, who works in Chichester at Teddy Wilf’s Nursery School and at an after-school club at Parklands Community Primary School, is now urging others to join her. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something amazing and to help children who really need it.” For more details on the challenge or to join it, see www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk or call 01903 706355.