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Annie's charity begins at home

FOR the past few months Annie Judge has been cycling to work and training hard at Kingsmead leisure centre in Canterbury.

She has set herself a big challenge to raise money to help families of sick children by cycling and trekking in America's Grand Canyon.

On September 13 she flies out to the United States and starts the gruelling trip two days later. She returns on September 22. Mrs Judge is the manager of the 3 Bears' House next to the children's ward at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

The house gives parents who are staying with their sick children somewhere to sleep, eat, take a shower or wash their clothes and Mrs Judge, 54, is hoping to raise £3,000 for The Sick Children's Trust.

This is a national charity, which provides seven of these homes from home in hospitals in England. Each year they accommodate around 3,000 families.

Mrs Judge said: "Every day parents tell me what a godsend our house is to them. I passionately believe that families should be able to stay together and support each other when they have been devastated by the serious illness of their child."

She is now training hard for the trek, cycling in to work two to three times a week, going out at weekends and working out at Kingsmead.

"I am really looking forward to the trip, although I am a bit anxious because I have never been to the States before and have never done a long plane trip," said Mrs Judge. "However, I am excited as well and aim to make the descent to the bottom of the canyon and back up again."

While in America Mrs Judge will be camping along the way and has been warned to look out for bears and cougars.

She is still hoping people will help sponsor her trek or give a donation to the Sick Children's Trust instead. Those interested in helping can contact her at the 3 Bears' House on 01227 783194.

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