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Trekking the great wall of china october 2011

Hi everyone,

Firstly, I just wanted to see if there was anyone on here who will be trekking the Great Wall of China this October for Alzheimer's?

Has anyone on here done it before or know what it's like?

Also, i'm really struggling with raising my sponsorship.. :( It really isn't as easy as I first thought.. any tips?


Sarah :)


Registered User
Sep 16, 2004
Hello Sarah
I did the wall May 2009. It was amazing but hard, make sure that you do the training.
Raising the money is hard but I tend to break it down into months if I have not raised that months money I make it up myself, that way it is managable for me but I start one year before so it is less per month.
I have done several Treks for the A S I'm doing the lake district on 25th June.


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
Have you got a Just Giving page? My brother did a trek in Tanzania for Action Aid and he raised a lot of money through having one of these pages. x

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
OK – not trying to be controversial here ... but I do wonder a lot of fund-raising for AS seems to be through treks in (glamorous) faraway places?:confused:

It reminds me of the Comic Relief ‘celebs’ who ‘do’ Kilimanjaro, for example .... and Joe Public pipes up – “Why don’t they just put their hands in their own pockets and stump up the money themselves?” Why spend the money financing yourself to get there and not just give it directly to AS? Unlike the ‘press’ Comic Relief or other televised fund-raising events get, I am never sure how much ‘raising awareness’ even occurs through these trips )other than from immediate personal sponsors) ... and like another poster has pointed out – the fund-raisers can end up well out of pocket themselves?????

I’ve learnt fast and hard this last couple of months about giving ‘goods’ (not pound notes) directly to causes who need them to maximise what little I can afford to give to ensure my efforts or contributions go directly to the people who need them.

As I said – not meant to be a challenge – a genuine question that has disturbed me for some time. Those who have ‘trekked’ or parachute jumped or whatever else beyond the glamour :)D) of local cake sales and tombolas etc to keep a local dementia cafe going can perhaps enlighten me?

Good luck, Sarah, and anyone else taking part – you deserve to raise ‘oodles’!!!!:)

Regards, Karen, x


Registered User
Sep 16, 2004
Hello Tender Face
I do understand your sceptisisum, sort of. The A S have been doing treks long before comic releif, most of the treks I have been on have raised close to £100,000 there is no way that people would donate to that extent without the glamour and in some cases danger of the over-sea treks.

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Thanks for responding, Anne. :) Yes I am a sceptic – cynic – you name it. I just feel saddened by the original post where someone has invested their money (not to mention time and ’training’) pursuing their participation in an event to find the sponsorship doesn’t materialise as they might hope. In these instances, surely, someone who can afford to fund themselves to get to the trip/event would be better off, in those circumstances, if their money went directly to their charity (talking generically here, not necessarily AS) assuming fund-raising is the key issue. I can also understand the experience of undertaking such challenges with like-minded folk must be an incredible experience in itself, not least if it is an ‘in memory of’ experience.

It strikes me the only people ‘profiting’ from the exercise in these circumstances are the tour/flight operators??????? (Unless they offer their services for free in such organised events?) and so more money is channelled into private enterprise and/or shareholders’ pockets and not the not-for-profit/charity sector? (Please someone correct me if this is a wrong assumption and all associated expenses are funded by corporate sponsorship).

I am afraid, in these tough times, I personally would not support someone who can afford themselves to undertake such challenges, whatever the cause they were fund-raising for. My view. My choice.

‘Glamorous’ does not sit easily for me with the recession. A very personal view, and I should be – and am - grateful people can afford themselves to do the more ‘exotic’ and find sponsors who can equally afford to give and raise money by their efforts. But if I have a spare ‘fiver’ to donate to a cause, or a fund-raising event to support a cause, it is more likely these days to go to some less ‘glam’ endeavours – and probably at local level.

As the cutbacks, job losses etc start to bite deeper, I fear more and more people will, like me, look harder and harder at what they can afford to give (other than their time and effort), if anything. When redundancy hits and you worry about putting food on the table, or paying a fuel bill, someone being able to ‘trek’ in China or Peru (I personally would opt for the wonderful Lake District!) has a bit of a sting in its tail
:( however much you might support the cause. I personally believe ‘glam’ fund-raising will become unfashionable – and even non-PC - at some point in the future unless we move out of recession quickly.

I really feel we should not negate the efforts of the magnificent sums raised by ‘ordinary’ (by that I suppose I mean lower-paid) people who raise £1000s and £1000s year in, year out for their chosen charities or 'causes' through proverbial blood, sweat and tears and great-heartedness in different ways and are often relatively unrecognised even at local level but for the people their efforts make a difference to.

At that point I sound like I am advocating the ‘Big Society’ idea so will move on while the moment passes! (Or perhaps it shouldn’t?) ;):)

Karen, x
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Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
I do wonder a lot of fund-raising for AS seems to be through treks in (glamorous) faraway places?:confused:

Those who have ‘trekked’ or parachute jumped or whatever else beyond the glamour :)D) of local cake sales and tombolas etc to keep a local dementia cafe going can perhaps enlighten me?
Speaking as someone who trekked the Sahara desert for AS in November 2009, I can assure you it is very far from being glamorous - unless you consider no running water, no fancy tents, no 'facilities' (if you now what I mean ;)), 10 hour days of trekking and coming home with dysentery to be glamorous. And not a drop of gin to keep me going ... :D

But it was all worth it to raise £10k for AS. I don't think I could raise a fraction of that amount by making cup cakes, even ignoring the fact that I can't cook and would probably give my customers dysentery.

Why was I able to raise so much? Partly I think because this was so far out of my comfort zone (I have only ever camped once before - and that was a tent in the garden when I gave in and went to bed at about 9 o'clock) that people were impressed enough to put their hands in their pockets. Partly because I have a very pushy mother who asked people outright and shamed them into sponsoring me.

Tips for sponsoring really depends on your circumstances.
- A just giving page is excellent - I put a bit about my trek and a link to my page in the signature of my emails.
- We ran a couple of quiz nights, charging a small entrance fee, and then making money on a tombola. If you need good prizes for the tombola write to your local supermarkets and other local businesss for vouchers. Contact your local football/rugby team and see if they'll donate a signed programme/ball/ shirt. One quiz we ran in a church hall that didn't have a bar. We bought bulk boxes of wine and beer and sold them at a profit. You need to apply to the local council for permission to sell alcohol but we made a lot of money on this.
- Buy some tubes of smarties and give them out asking for them back full of 20p's
- Contact your local paper and see if they'll do an article on you.
- Borrow my mother, or even keep her... ;)

Despite the tough conditions it was a fantastic experience, and I knew my dad would have been proud of me if he had been able to understand. After we climbed the biggest sand dune (Chagaga) early one morning, our team leader made a speech asking us all to reflect on our reasons for doing the trek. It was a very emotional experience and one I will never forget. That and the money I raised made it all worthwhile. :) I hope you make it to your fundraising target and enjoy the experience.

This is the team at the top of Chagaga


Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Thanks Sue – I had hoped you would contribute to this discussion.:)

Some people can only manage ‘cup-cakes’ (me – I’d be useless even at that – would eat more than I sold!!!!:eek:) but I remain concerned for the original poster struggling to find sponsorship and am trying to illustrate why people who would LOVE to put their hands in their pockets may find all that is left in them is the last polo mint and bit of fluff! :eek:

The company my husband works for banned any employee ‘touting’ sponsorship forms/appeals some years ago, to prevent embarrassment for those who simply could not even afford a token pledge. The last company I worked didn’t ban seeking sponsors but had an upper limit of just £2 sponsorship per event – be it midnight walks through city centres – treks in faraway locations or a sponsored silence. (You guessed – I gained most for the sponsored silence!!!!:p:D)

Not gaining sponsorship is going to be an increasing issue, surely? Unless you can rent out your mother, Sue?:rolleyes::D

Kaz, x


Registered User
Apr 26, 2006
Tender Face - whilst I agree in principle with your posts I would like the opportunity to take it further.

Perhaps, as a society, we are getting to saturation point with regard to charitable donations? We are inundated with requests for little we have to spare for worthy causes. Everytime you leave the Supermarkets or walk through Town Centres you are presented with tin rattlers and flag sellers.

There is only so much you can contribute even though you feel compelled to drop into the tins or buckets wafted under your nose.

Add to this recent exposure in the press regarding the use of contributions from the general public, perhaps contributors are a little wary of offering their cash when the larger part of it is used as support for sufferers rather than for research into the disease from which they are suffering.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
If you are primarily concerned with research then you have the option to donate to Alzheimer's Research UK. http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/

I'm not sure of the percentage that the AS uses for research as opposed to support. I suspect that many if not most donors recognise that supporting people who already have the disease and their carers is as important as research. I doubt many would feel it was an either/or choice.

Edited to add: I think that holds true across many different diseases. It's less likely to come up, perhaps with disease like cancer, since the expectation is that the NHS will provide the sort of support that people are likely to need. Also of course, the biggies (cancer, heart disease) tend not to require the sort of care (often referred to erroneously as "social care") that dementia sufferers need. If you have cancer and cannot feed yourself then almost certainly you are late stage and you will have major classic health needs. With dementia though, you're much more likely to need that sort of care much earlier.
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Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
No-one has to agree with me, Grommit (most people don’t!!!):D. I was just trying to air concerns generally about gaining sponsorship – but, yes, it can open up a whole new can of worms as some wrigglers you have suggested!!!!!

Perhaps, as a society, we are getting to saturation point with regard to charitable donations?
This was very much evidenced this last year with the ‘telethons’, I believe .... interesting ‘Children in Need’ flopped on previous years – yet Comic Relief set new records? Different audiences? Too much ‘same old, same old’? – or people getting wiser wanting to know EXACTLY where their money is going? (Or was it all down to James Corden?:rolleyes::D)

jenniferpa said:
It's less likely to come up, perhaps with disease like cancer, since the expectation is that the NHS will provide the sort of support that people are likely to need.
Jennifer, I both agree and disagree with that. :) Yes, there is also an element I think difficult in fund-raising where ‘Joe Public’ expects the NHS to pick up the tab (but as so many of us know here, it doesn’t work like that – didn’t before and is only going to get worse!:() ... alternatively – hospice care – and a lot of cancer care through Marie Curie or MacMillan - for the terminally ill is predominantly funded by charitable donations?

I am trying to think out loud here and come up with something constructive to help with gaining sponsorship for whatever cause. 1) Given as mentioned earlier, corporates may not now allow staff to waltz round the office with their ‘pledge forms’ as in days of yore, 2) donation/compassion fatigue, 3) people purely and simply ‘skint’ ..... the audience is getting narrower and narrower unless you have a large social network/contacts (preferably all of whom have a lot of dosh to spare). Confess I am struggling with ideas.

I know from days of fund-raising for local schools and projects, amongst others, the ‘cheapest to organise’ fundraising activities often generated the most money, or most visitors. Usually they involved a supply of cold water and a job lot of sponges and buckets with a willing headmaster to sit in the ‘stocks’.:D

Surprising how you could get £1000 in a few hours from kids’ pocket money!:cool::D

Perhaps we need a politician or two to volunteer to be ‘sponged’??????;)

Line up, nicely, now!:p:D

Karen, x

(Sarah, I am not meaning to be flippant – just trying to throw some thoughts into the mix to see if we can generate some solid ideas between us all to find the right ‘target audience’ and how to access them).

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
I’m on a roll now .....:rolleyes:

Idea: You could mix sponsorship-seeking with a school project ..... check out when local schools are running a ‘fayre’ or car-boot (usually lots coming up this time of year) .... ask the Head/PTA if you can set up a stall (seen my son’s school do this for charities – they pay the ‘token’ hire charge for a table which goes to school funds while you get on with fund-raising for your own cause – (e.g. our local hospice always runs a bric-a-brac stall at any school events) ....... have leaflets and pledge forms (whatever they are called) available ..... perhaps have some fun activity alongside for a token ‘Win a tube of pastilles’ for a token contribution (Attract the families with younger ones in tow).

In a ‘secondary environment’ you could approach the staff to incorporate dementia awareness into Citizenship classes .... and beyond. Are you confident enough to give a talk? A secondary school has how many staff? How many of the adults working in the school alone will have or have had a nan/granddad/parent/partner affected? Word will get round the staff room! Make sure there are sponsor forms by the kettle!!!!!;)

You may be aware many secondary schools ‘adopt’ charities just as the big corporates do – OK – it’s not exactly lottery winning funding - but it may be worth 'knocking on the door'. It would be a great opportunity to raise awareness never mind fill up your sponsorship forms through a pretty diverse audience of staff, pupils and their families?

From little acorns .......??????

Karen, x


Registered User
Nov 16, 2008
Just a few ideas from a fellow fund-raiser. Firstly quiz nights, as someone said earlier are a reliable source of income. But you have to work hard to get people interested. I run about 3 a year with a brilliant quizmaster, excellent venue with all the props and brilliant fish and chips. Up to now we have charged £9 per head - it will go up to £10 next time, bearing in mind the increase in food charges and payment of hall hire. We raise most money via the raffle, again it takes effort and hard work to obtain good prizes. You need to network and then use those contacts to ask for prizes, e.g. I have a friend who is a guide at Buckingham Palace who gives us free tickets to one of the royal exhibitions or castles every time. T...o donate a £10 voucher every quiz. I visit Amaz.. bargain basement regularly and snap up bargain deals as well as keeping an eye out for bargains in shops. Ask local theatres for tickets, restaurants for dinner reservations, hairdressers for a free cut and blow dry!!! etc. etc. I once went to a funeral of a dear honorary aunt and met her nephew, who I had known vaguely for years and who was now MD of a large fitness charity. One glass of wine later at the wake and I asked him if he would donate a prize. He came up trumps and gave an annual membership to a leading health club!!! We did a separate raffle (taking care to observe all rules) and raised over £1,000 just for that 1 thing.

Giving concerts is my main source of fund-raising income. Over the last few years we have succeeded in gaining quite a lot of corporate sponsorship, mainly through connections, the old network again. And asking and asking and pushing until you get the positive response. There are a lot of negative responses too, so it all takes a huge amount of effort. Generally you're better off with the smaller companies than the larger ones.

Schools, yes, they're a great source of income. Cake sales, sponsored swims etc. Again the personal contact is the one likely to bring you success.

My pupils also help me raise money by taking part in a sponsored practice every year. (I have in fact offered this idea to AS but have received no reply????) If you know any musicians who want to take part in pledging to practice every day for 2 weeks and raise money that way, then I'm happy to Email you my basic form (at present designed for the sight loss charity for which I help) and you could amend it.

Just some ideas - good luck!

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Mary, thank you, you have helped me sort some of my own thoughts out about why I find some types of fund-raising a little puzzling ... a lot of what you are doing is in someway ‘reciprocal’ – people get some FUN out of donating (or purpose for themselves if you are getting your pupils to practise!!!:rolleyes:) – if it’s just anticipating their raffle ticket being drawn, or hoping to win the quiz!

Problem with sponsored events is there is no ‘reciprocal participation’ other than a feel good factor for offering the sponsorship.:confused:

I have to say (indulgent memory) one of my favourite fund-raising events was Red Nose Day 2003. I was working in a school in a very deprived area ... many of the kids and their families didn’t have a bean – blind eyes were turned to uniform rules as long as kids were somewhere near the mark (ideally dressed appropriately at all!!!:eek:). A kid having full PE kit was a revelation!!!!! Come Red Nose Day, head decided to promote it – awareness thing – and getting into the spirit - big assembly planned ... nose painting for 10p, a few buns made by ‘Class 5’ to go on sale ...... teachers and assistants all coerced into wearing silly hair dos (curlers and ribbons I remember mostly!) ...... kids and parents were turning up in the morning and hooting .... from somewhere ... through the day, cakes arrived to sell ...:) and more cakes ... :) and donations .....:):):) . and someone’s dad had some DJ equipment :cool: and an after school disco suddenly sprang from nowhere .... and someone had a cash and carry card and ran out for pop and crisps to sell on for a small profit and ....... and those poor little urchins between them raised a whopping £562from nowhere. Gawd, how that school could have used £562 for itself.

Another great highlight, more recently – a Hospice summer fayre –you’d think it would be quiet and sombre ... no, full of games and brass bands and everyone having a great time ....... including some very poorly people who were aided just to ‘observe’ and enjoy as much as they were able ...... and Palliative Care nurses ‘whooping up’ tombolas and raffles .... :)about £6,000 raised in just a few hours, I believe ..... massive effort by a huge number of people volunteering little more than their time but for very little outlay ..... but the atmosphere and sense of ‘community’ priceless .......:)

I really AM turning into the Big Society, aren’t I?:eek::eek::eek::D

Kaz, x


Staff member
Apr 7, 2011
Hello Sessywessy

My name is Serena and I help manage Talking Point

Thank you for signing up for the Great Wall of China Trek - it sounds like a wonderful challenge.

I see you have had some replies on this thread with lots of good tips and advice. I've spoken to Gavin in our fundraising department who supports our treks fundraisers.

He says:
Thanks so much for signing up for the Great Wall of China trek.

You should have received a fundraising pack which has a lot of useful tips. Please let me know if you haven't received it.

Our top tips are:

1) Start fundraising as early as possible - the more time you have to fundraise, the more opportunity you have to get sponsorship.

2) Set up a JustGiving page - it's an easy way to collect donations online from people all over the country.

3) Ask as many people you know - not just your friends, family and colleagues, but also people from classes that you have joined, social clubs that you have joined, your local faith group or even friends of friends.

4) When you are looking to hold fundraising events, think about regular small ones (e.g cake sale at work every Friday, a sports sweepstake) to chip away at the overall total before holding a bigger event (e.g a coffee morning asking for £15 sponsorship from attendees, a summer BBQ, pub quiz)

I notice you've already done some of these things but if you'd like some advice and support please feel free to contact me by emailing gavin.gowlett@alzheimers.org.uk
I hope this is helpful. All the best with your fundraising.