Gran, 74, tackles Great Wall trek

Margaret Willan get some practice for her walk on the Great Wall of China.
Margaret Willan get some practice for her walk on the Great Wall of China.

MOST 74-year-olds wouldn’t dream of taking part in a trek along the Great Wall of China.

But grandmother Margaret Willan, from Carleton, will be spending nine days walking along the iconic landmark in memory of her beloved granddaughter.

Jodie Willan was just 17 when she was struck down by meningitis and encephalitis in April 2010.

The popular youngster – who lived in Essex – had recently passed her driving test and was studying for her A-levels, she had ambitions of becoming a psychiatrist.

Margaret said: “She was absolutely beautiful. Everybody loved her. It was just heartbreaking when she died. It all happened so quickly.

“Since then, her family and friends have managed to raise £23,000 for the Meningitis Trust through various events.

“Her school friends have held events, like concerts, to raise funds, some of them did the London Marathon, some of them organised a football match because Jodie loved playing football and my daughter-in-law walked up Snowdon. I wanted to do something too.

“My son suggested the Great Wall of China so once I’d been to the doctor and checked I was okay to do it, that’s what we decided. A lady across the road has taken part in a trek there before, to raise money for Alzheimer’s.

“She’s been giving me advice and tips but told me to just go for it. I am a member of The Capricorn Singers choir and they’ve kindly organised a concert for charity in Jodie’s memory, at St Oswald’s in Preesall, on March 17. To sponsor the family, log on to