Mother to trek along Great Wall of China in memory of late son

17:00 18 August 2014

Sisters Christine Freed (left) and Jeanette Hapley.
 Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Sisters Christine Freed (left) and Jeanette Hapley. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton email

The mother of a 36-year-old man who died of cancer is preparing to trek along the Great Wall of China in his memory.

Christine's late son Robert with his two daughters. Picture: Nigel Sutton.Christine's late son Robert with his two daughters. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Christine Freed, 66, will take on the challenge in May with her sister Jeanette Hapley, 56, to raise money for Hampstead Marie Curie Hospice.

Staff at the centre, in Lyndhurst Gardens, cared for Mrs Freed’s son Robert shortly before his death in 2001.

The father-of-two, who lived in Islington, was diagnosed with terminal nasopharyngeal cancer in 1998.

Mrs Freed, of Rotherfield Street, Islington, said: “They never found the main cause of it, he just had a lump on his neck. It had already spread by the time he’d had scans done so he received palliative care from the start.

“We buried him in Highgate Cemetery because when he was in the Whittington Hospital, I used to walk around that cemetery to get a break and my daughter works there now. So we go up there to visit him.

“We all still miss him, we still expect him to walk through the door. It’s just something you have to get on with. It’s very hard.”

Mrs Freed, a retired print finisher, who has three surviving children, aims to raise £6,600 from the trek to donate to the hospice.

“They do such good work,” she said. “It costs an awful amount of money to keep people in the hospice. Everybody should end their lives with a bit of dignity.”

Mrs Freed and her sister, who have dubbed themselves the “Wrinkly Wanderers”, have already started training for the five-day trek.

She added: “I’m looking at it as going off to have an adventure and I’ll be thinking of Robert.

“When we went to the trek planning meeting, there were a lot of young people doing it and I felt a bit out of place.

“We had to come up with a team name so I thought let’s call ourselves the Wrinkly Wanderers!”

If you wish to support the Wrinkly Wanderers in their challenge, visit


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