Monday, 16 December 2019

Librarian on Indian trek for charity

A LIBRARIAN from Sonning Common is trekking in India to raise money for cancer research.

Rosemary Dunstan has spent the last week with 15 other people on a 10-day expedition to Kerala in the south-west of the country.

She is raising money for the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

The 63-year-old has completed similar expeditions for charity since 2001 and has been to India twice before, volunteering in Jodhpur in 2013 and trekking in the Himalayas in 2015.

This time she is walking in the Western Ghats, starting at the colonial hill station in Munnar and going over hills and through forests as well as mango, tea and coffee plantations. The highest point is the 2,630m Meesapulimala Peak.

The trekkers’ accommodation is a mixture of basic hotels and tents.

Mrs Dunstan, who lives in Birch Close and manages the village library, said: “I’ve been to India twice, both times to the north of the country, and I love it.

“I love the contrast between rich and poor, the bewildering bustle of the cities, the unassuming friendliness of the people and the breathtaking beauty of the mountains.

“It’s a fascinating country of contrasts.”

She decided to go on this trek for the adventure.

Mrs Dunstan said “I come from a generation where we didn’t have gap years and didn’t do anything exciting, so I’m taking the opportunity to do exciting things now.

“Seeing my friends’ teenagers going off made me feel like I missed out when I was younger. My daughter went to Australia for a year and I thought, ‘oh, I would like to do that’.

“It’s also an opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause.”

After the trek, she will spend time on a house boat in Alleppey with the rest of the party before returing on Monday to her husband, son and daughter.

“They are not that keen on camping and living rough and think I’m a little mad,” she said.

Mrs Dunstan has also trekked in Bhutan, Jordan, Zambia, Mongolia and Cambodia. A year ago she visited Colombia and walked about 50km to the Lost City, raising more than £1,000 for the Institute.

Mrs Dunstan, who pays all her own expenses, hopes to raise £2,000. To donate, visit https://bit.ly/33Ml6rf

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