Cheddar mum to hike Great Wall Of China in memory of life-long friend

PUBLISHED: 19:00 21 May 2018

Mandy with her daughter Emily and Kings Head landlady Valerie Hinson at the Rock and Roll Bingo.

Mandy with her daughter Emily and Kings Head landlady Valerie Hinson at the Rock and Roll Bingo.


A Cheddar woman will take on a hike along one of the Seven Wonders Of The World to raise funds for an emergency training initiative after losing her friend.

Ali, 30, and Mandy, 29, on holiday together in the Caribbean. Ali, 30, and Mandy, 29, on holiday together in the Caribbean.

Mandy Bancroft, aged 51, is planning to walk the Great Wall Of China to raise money for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) campaign, Great Western Heart Starters, which educates young people on how to perform CPR.

Doctors, paramedics and University of the West of England (UWE) students teamed up with the charity in 2016 to deliver the life-saving training in secondary schools.

Mandy, who is the UWE Bristol organiser for the campaign, said: “The care a person receives before paramedics arrive can play a vital part in a heart attack victim’s survival.

“By equipping the next generation with these life-saving skills, it could mean hundreds of lives are saved every year by bystanders’ intervention.”

The challenge will see Mandy walk 70km of the Great Wall from Huangyaguan to Old Balding, ascending more than 10,000 steps over six days, beginning on September 13.

She is making the trip in memory of her friend Alison Jones, from Wells, who died of a heart attack in July 2003 when she was just 37 years old.

Mandy said: “I have always wanted to do something in her memory but I have never known what.

“After I signed up for the challenge, I found out Ali had always wanted to go to China but never made it so it is almost as if it was meant to be.”

The pair met when they were teenagers training to be nurses and they formed a close friendship, leaning on each other for support for more than 20 years.

Mandy added: “She was my go-to person whenever I needed advice. She would always say it as it is and I trusted her view completely.

“She’d put her arm round me and tell me she’d always be there for me. Then a few days later we were saying goodbye to her.”

Ali was at home when she suffered a heart attack and died a few days later in hospital – the pair had gone for a ‘wander’ around Wedmore the day before.

Mandy hopes to raise £3,500 for hosting different events for her ‘pilgrimage for Ali’.

To sponsor Mandy, visit

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