There is no easy way through ‘Ireland’s toughest physical and mental endurance challenge’ but one local woman has completed it spurred on by the memory of her sister, to raise £3,400 for the Newry Hospice.
Barbara Jardine signed up for the ‘To hell and back challenge’ which took place in Wicklow in June and features around 29 obstacles including an ice bath, a gladiator challenge, ropes, a hike up Sugar Loaf mountain, a shock of horrors challenge with electric shocks and lots of mud and swamps over a 12km course.
Barbara wanted to raise the money for the hospice who she says were the backbone for her sister Helen throughout her illness, but it meant even more to Barbara to be able to present the cheque to her dad, John Jardine, who is a volunteer there.
“My dad has volunteered with St John’s for six years now - from about a year after my sister died. I think it’s just his way of keeping close to her. They call him the legend because he goes above and beyond what’s expected of him. He’s a really kind and helpful person, as is my mum Julie who is his support.
“The hospice is a very undervalued service - to do the kind of work they do takes a different kind of person and it is all entirely funded by people’s generosity - they get no Government grants.”
Barbara was struggling to find a good slogan for the challenge when she had a flash of inspiration - ‘Give it wellie for Hellie’.
Barbara said: “It was as if Helen had said it to me - it was just the perfect strap for the event”.
“Helen was an amazing person, the kindest person with the biggest heart. This whole event would have been so up her street - she loved fitness challenges.
“I just kept thinking of her when I felt I was hitting a wall and it was very emotional crossing the line.”
Barbara’s support came from many places including Moneyslane Football Club, work colleagues, friends and her aunties ‘wee pots’ where they collected money for her.