From Clarkston to China in aid of mental health charity

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A Clarkston woman is embarking on an epic trek to raise money for Mental Health UK.

Louise McGregor, along with colleagues from Lloyds Banking Group will be taking part in ‘Walk the Talk’ by trekking the Great Wall of China for the charity.

‘Walk the Talk’ is Lloyds Banking Group’s signature fundraising campaign this autumn. Taking place between September 17-21, Walk the Talk aims to get people walking and talking about mental health, helping to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness whilst raising £250,000 for Mental Health UK.

Louise, along with a team of 34 colleagues, will be undertaking an arduous 36 kilometer trek along the Great Wall of China whilst, at the same time, thousands of colleagues will be taking part in around 200 walks across the UK.

Louise aimed to raise £4,000 for Mental Health UK, towards the target of £250,000, and she has already exceeded this with £6,000 raised.

In addition to trekking, Louise will also have the opportunity to lend a hand in repairing the Great Wall as she and her colleagues will help to carry the bricks from the bottom of the Wall to repair the watchtowers.

This demanding challenge is in aid of Lloyds Banking Group’s two year charity partnership with Mental Health UK, a key part of the Group’s commitment to help Britain prosper. The fundraising will enable Mental Health UK to support the most vulnerable people living with mental health issues who are often the hardest to reach, and who might be living in isolated communities, struggling in silence.

Mental health is an issue that is particularly important to Louise as having worked in line management for a number of years she has supported a number of colleagues through various periods of mental ill health and now wants to encourage others to open up and ask for help, to reduce the stigma around mental health.

Louise said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and even though it will be the toughest thing I have been involved with, I am excited to rise to the challenge and have done lots of training in preparation, from getting a personal trainer to tackling a number of the Munros during the weekends. My main motivation lies in the impact that I know the money I have fundraised will have, especially as I am familiar with how life-changing a mental illness can be.

“I found out in February that I had been selected as one of the 35 trekkers from a pool of over 700 applicants which was incredible. Reality and panic soon hit regarding the fund raising and how I was going to hit my £4K target.

“I created a fundraising plan with at least one event every month, from bake sales to raffles and charity nights and advertised my events in the Glasgow office as well as through social media and I was totally blown away by the support and encouragement I received.”

Louise continued: “I had never met or worked with any of my colleagues participating in the challenge so after our training weekend in the Peak District in June we created groups on social media to allow us to share fundraising ideas and training hints and tips. This has allowed us to get to know one another a bit better before spending 9 days together, pushing ourselves to the limit every day.

“With only three weeks to go until we leave for China I am doing my final prep, training hard and getting the last of my immunisations. My just giving page is currently sitting at £6075 and I still have one final bake sale to go at the end of August.

“I am incredibly proud to be part of this amazing team and challenge and so excited to see how far we can take the total funds raised by the time we complete the trek.”

Fiona Cannon, group director of Responsible Business at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “We wish everyone the best of luck as they set off on the Great Wall of China trek. Their commitment to training, fundraising and raising awareness of this important cause sits at the heart of our ambition to help Britain prosper. The £185,000 raised so far will enable Mental Health UK to expand their specialist support network and reach out to the places and people who need their help the most.”

You can read more on Louise’s story and make a donation by visiting Just Giving Louise McGregor