THE mother of a young Fordingbridge woman who died in a zipwire accident in the Swiss Alps in 2010 is climbing the Grand Canyon in her memory.
Andrea Watton, 21, a former Burgate School pupil who was studying at Bangor University, was on an expedition in Saas-Fee with six other sports science students when she died after hitting a rock in August 2010.
She would be celebrating her 25th birthday on Easter Sunday.
Since Andrea’s death, her parents Peter and Deborah have thrown themselves into raising money for charity. Already they have raised more than £10,000 for Mountain Rescue and Cancer Research UK.
And now Mrs Watton is preparing for a trip of a lifetime in October, to trek along the Grand Canyon, in a bid to secure £4,000 for the Have a Heart Appeal for seriously ill children.
She said: “It has been over three and a half years ago since we lost Andrea. We have found that fundraising has helped us so much to continue on with our lives without her being around. It would have been her birthday on Easter Sunday and we will be releasing balloons on Bournemouth beach in her memory.
“I’ve chosen to support Have a Heart Appeal because the money raised goes towards children living with a serious illness. “For 20,000 children in the UK, their childhood isn't about having fun and playing with friends. These children have life-threatening illnesses and their lives are dominated by pain, fear, worry and endless medical treatments.
“By granting their magical wish, however big or small we can allow them to escape from their worries for a little while.”
She added: “Andrea has inspired me to this as I know she would have loved to do this herself. She was a very inspiring, beautiful and adventurous 21-year-old, who always lived her life to the full and has given us millions of memories that will stay with us forever. “This trip of a lifetime will be made all the more memorable by the knowledge that every step I make will raise money to make seriously ill children's wishes come true.”
The couple are holding a Summer Ball at Avonway Community Centre on July 5 to raise funds for the Have a Heart Appeal ahead of the trek.
If you would like to sponsor or donate an auction prize or buy tickets for the ball call Mrs Watton on 01425 656912, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit virginmoneygiving.com/debbiewatton.