A group of brave celebrities are ditching the glamour and pulling on walking boots to trek through Borneo’s jungle and climb its highest peak to raise vital funds for the UK’s leading children’s charity Barnardo’s.
TV stars Made in Chelsea’s Sam Thompson and James Dunmore, TOWIE’s Lydia Bright, Astronomer Mark Thompson and presenter Helen Fospero are training hard in preparation for the fundraising challenge, which runs from May 12 until May 19.
The trek won’t be a simple walk in the park; the group will be climbing nearly four times the height of Snowdon to the 4,095m summit of Mount Kinabalu and will have to battle the high altitude and treacherous slopes while coping with fluctuating temperatures and jungle creepy crawlies like jumping spiders.
The celebrities will sleep in the wilderness under canvass and learn jungle survival skills, such foraging for food, as well as taking part in a variety of nerve-wracking challenges that will test their strength, endurance and will push them to their limits.
They’ll send regular updates home and keep their followers on social media up-to-date with their progress.
Each participant is trying to raise as much money and awareness as possible for Barnardo’s which supports 272,000 vulnerable children, young people, parents and carers around the UK through its network of more than 1,000 services.
Sam, 25, from London, who is one of Barnardo’s newest ambassadors, added: “I’m really looking forward to the trek although I imagine it’s really going to stretch us all, physically and mentally.
It’s going to be tough so I really hope people get behind us and donate – the thought of money pouring in for this good cause will really keep us going!”
Barnardo’s ambassador Lydia, 28, from Essex, said: “I’m so excited to be taking part in this challenge for such a good cause although I’m a bit nervous!
As my mum Debbie Douglas has been a foster carer for 25 years, I have grown up surrounded by foster children and it has been a wonderful experience.
I’m now proud to support Barnardo’s and the many different services it provides to support vulnerable children.”
James, 28, from London, knows first-hand how important it is for families to receive the support and help they need at difficult times; his two older sisters Jodi and Lucinda sadly passed away from Cystic Fibrosis in the space of just 20 months, aged 22 and 18.
James said: “Everyday life can suddenly become incredibly difficult to manage or cope with when a family is facing heartbreak, grief, or other tragic circumstance.
Knowing that someone is there to help you, to offer support can make a world of difference when you’re struggling to handle life’s problems.
Barnardo’s is there to help children and young people when they need it the most so it really deserves as much support as possible.”
Helen, from London, is also a Barnardo’s ambassador and last year led 8 celebrities on a Barnardo’s Artic Adventure challenge.
Helen said: “I’m really excited to be taking on the Borneo trek, it is going to be a completely different environment to the last challenge.
I think it’s going to push us all to our limits but it will be so worth it to raise thousands of pounds for such a worthy charity.”
Barnardo’s ambassador Mark, 45, from Norfolk, also accompanied Helen on the Arctic Adventure last year and is looking forward to a warmer climate for the upcoming trek.
Mark said: “It’s going to be an amazing experience. I’m excited about sleeping under canvass in the jungle and seeing the night sky.
But it’s not going to be a picnic; I think it’s going to be a challenge, physically and mentally so I really hope everyone helps us to raise as much money as possible for Barnardo’s.”
Barnardo’s Chief executive Javed Khan said: “We are so grateful to Sam, James, Lydia, Mark and Helen for taking on this difficult challenge to raise important funds for Barnardo’s.
We know it’s going to be tough for them so we want to encourage as many people as possible to donate to their fundraising pages to help them raise as much money as possible.
Without fundraisers like this, Barnardo’s would not be able to continue the vital work it does to support some of the UK’s most vulnerable children and families, so please dig deep and donate; every pound really does make a difference.”