TREKKING along the Great Wall of China has always been a dream for a Hampshire mother-of-two.

But now Helen Connole, 41, from Colden Common, is planning to fulfil her dream and to raise money for a cause close to her heart.

She is embarking on her adventure of a lifetime in September by joining a ten-day trip organised by Discover Adventure, a specialist in worldwide trekking.

Her aim is to raise £3,250 for Parkinson’s UK – a leading charity funding research into the causes and support for sufferers of the disease which affects one person in every 500. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Helen’s mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2003. Symptoms can include rigidity, slowness of movement and tremors making it difficult to walk or carry out simple tasks such as washing and dressing.

Helen has signed up to walk about 80 miles along the Great Wall of China accompanied by a friend and 30 others who are all raising money for their chosen charities.

Helen said: “It is something I have always wanted to do and because it was my 40th birthday last year it made me determined to do it even more and Parkinson’s UK seemed a worthy cause to support.”

The part-time pharmacy dispensing assistant said her two teenage children, Matthew and Charlotte, were “a bit shocked” at her adventurousness, although pleased for her.

Helen said: “I like walking but I have never done something like this before.”

She is already in training with long weekend walks and regular trips to her local gym.