Trek in Jordan

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A Dinnet hairdresser who trekked through Jordan to Petra on horseback has raised more than £15,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care during what she described as an “amazing experience.”

The total amount Jane Nicolson and the people with whom she undertook her trek raised - £429,711.07 - will provide 21,485 hours of nursing care to terminally-ill patients.

The unusual event took place at the end of October and saw the 21-year-old stylist saddling up with boss Gordon Milton to raise vital funds for the cancer charity.

Jane, who works at Elan hairdressers in Inverurie, said: “We trekked from Wadi Rum to a place called little Petra about 15km from Petra.

“On the first day we got up about 6.30am, had breakfast then got our horses ready and set off around 8am.

“We trekked for about two hours then stopped for a water break and to take in the amazing views.

“For the first three days of riding we rode across desert land, with spectacular views of the mountains and hills.

“We rode for about seven hours with an hour for lunch. We stayed in tents every night, which our team of guys put up before we got there.

“We rode for five days in total, each day was about seven to eight hours a day with an hour for lunch and a few water breaks in between.

“On days one, two and three, we were riding over desert land and days four and five we were riding over mountains.

“There were about 30 people in the riding group and also two other groups of walkers and cyclists on different routes, but we all met up at the end and crossed the finish line together.”

Jane - whose Gran and Grandad both died of cancer around five years ago - trained for the challenge on local woman Julie Brunsmann’s horse Mac.

Prior to her challenge, the longest she had been on a horse was around three hours at a time.

“It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I did it!” she said.

“I met some really nice people and learnt so much about Petra and its culture. “We had a target of £6,000 to reach before we could go but we (Jane and Gordon) managed to rise £15,322.78.

“I managed to raise about £3,000 myself from sponsorship from friends and family, for which I am so grateful.

“Everyone that sponsored me was very generous and I can’t thank them enough. Without their help, I wouldn’t have managed to go on the trek.

“My mum also spent hours making toffee, which I sold in the shop, and was amazed it managed to raise £4,000!

“I would again just like to thank everyone who sponsored me and gave me the chance to take part in this amazing opportunity and to raise so much money for such a worthy cause.”

Speaking to the Piper back in September, the former Aboyne Academy pupil said she and Gordon needed £6,000 to go on the expedition but prior to leaving, had already more than doubled that by making toffee, organising a dance, bag packing in Marks & Spencer and through a number of sponsorships from friends and family.

She said she thought the fact that so many people’s lives were affected by cancer these days had made people donate so generously to the charity.

The pair decided to take part in the once-in-a-lifetime event after Gordon read about it in a newspaper.

“Gordon didn’t want to do it on his own and I told him I had been riding since I was about 12, and he managed to talk me into taking part,” said Jane.

“I was a bit reluctant at first to sign up but then I thought I’d never get the chance to do something like this again.”

Jane is now jetting to Australia to spend a year travelling around the country.