An intrepid Kettering nursery manager conquered the Pyrenees – as well as her fear of heights – during a gruelling four day hike and climb across the European mountain range.
Jacky Bufton, of Windermere Day Nursery, took on the trek mission to help raise money £4,657 for the Children’s Air Ambulance charity.
Jacky battled snow, sleet and rain during the four day hike and some of the other team members were forced off the mountain by the conditions.
However, after navigating tiny paths bounded by sheer drops along the Freedom Trail, a route used during the Second World War by thousands of French and Jewish people as well as British and US airmen to escape from France into northern Spain.
After her brave trek Jacky returned to the Haweswater Road nursery to a hero’s welcome from children and staff, complete with a ‘Congratulations’ banner and chocolate-filled medal.
She said: “It was an extraordinary experience and undoubtedly the most challenging and scary thing I have every done. I have been overwhelmed by everybody’s support and feel enormously proud to be a member of this expedition.”
Jacky was one of a four member team who made it from France to Spain out of a 40 strong expedition from Childbase Partnership, which has 44 day nurseries, including Windermere.
Amid unexpected snow storms, which reduced visibility, and falls that resulted in a broken arm for one climber and a dislocated finger for a guide, only the very fittest were permitted to continue the challenge past the point of ‘no return’.
Jacky added: “I am in awe of the people who did this journey with little or no equipment as they fled Nazi occupation. I will never forget the moments when I struggled mentally and physically or the incredible sense of achievement I experienced on reaching Spain and the welcome we got from our expedition team-mates.”