AN AFTER-SCHOOL club assistant from Chester is an epic fundraiser.
Romey Barnes, 54, who works at the Queen’s Lower School on Liverpool Road, has raised more than £10,000 in charity challenges.
She has swam five miles across Crummock Water and Buttermere in the Lake District in September and earlier this year rode 350km across Cuba on a bicycle.
Her latest achievements are in addition to previous efforts including swimming the English Channel, as part of a relay team, trekking up to Everest Base Camp and swimming 5.5 kilometres from Malta to Gozo.
As part of her fundraising, she also organises tea parties, concerts, race nights, brunches, auctions and wine tasting events to keep up the fundraising momentum.
The money raised by Romey will go to the charity Aspire which offers support for independent living to people with spinal injury.
She said: “I’m all about healthy living and undertake these challenges to prove to myself what is possible if you focus on achieving a goal – and also that age is not the barrier. What keeps me going is the thought of what the money can do.
“The English Channel swim was simply the most terrifying thing I have ever done. I didn’t know what terrifying was until it was my second turn to swim. I shrieked when I had to jump into complete blackness at 10.25pm at night. My imagination ran riot. Nothing had prepared me for that despite training in Salford Quays at midnight.
“What kept me going was not wishing to let my team mates down and the image of a man in a wheelchair reminding me of the reason why I was doing it. Sheer willpower kept me swimming.
“Climbing to Everest Base Camp, though, was the most physically demanding challenge I have undertaken. The altitude and the cold make it extremely difficult; you lose your appetite and can’t sleep properly so exhaustion sets in very quickly. Camping at -15C really takes its toll – you can’t feel your hands with the cold – it is absolutely gruelling. However the Himalayas and Everest valley are majestic and the Nepalese people are a delight, very much worth all the effort and discomfort.”
Romey’s continued support for Aspire includes a forthcoming concert with the Queen’s Young Voices choir and a race night.
To donate to Romey’s fundraising appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/ romeys.