Desert trek in mum’s memory

Andrew Milner (left) and Stephen Bradshaw
Andrew Milner (left) and Stephen Bradshaw

A LOVING son will trek hundreds of miles across a desert to raise cash in memory of his mum.

Hartlepool woman Mary Milner died of mesothelioma last year aged 70.

Mary with Andrew's wife Yuko

Mary with Andrew's wife Yuko

Now her son Andrew Milner, 41, is planning to take part in a 155-mile seven-day endurance race across the Gobi Desert, in China.

Andrew and his friend, Stephen Bradshaw, will attempt to complete the race to raise £5,000 for the Butterwick Hospice, in Stockton, where Mary was cared for up to her death on August 8 last year.

Andrew, who lives in Tokyo, Japan, with wife Yuko, said he wants to thank the hospice for the care they gave to his mum.

Mary was born in Hartlepool and grew up in the Owton Manor area of the town.

Andrew, originally from Wolviston Court, Billingham, said: “Before her passing she spent a comfortable week in the care of the Butterwick Hospice. Our family was able to experience first hand the dedication and efforts of all the staff associated with the organisation.

“We went every day and met a few members of the staff including founder Mary. We saw first hand the great work they are doing.”

The trek, which starts in western China on June 26, crosses the Turpan basin, the second lowest land point on earth. Andrew and Stephen will have to cope with extreme temperatures that will reach up to 45C in the latter stages and they will have to carry a bag weighing 33lb.

Andrew said his training included taking part in the Tokyo Marathon. But he is worried that he cannot train for the heat on Teesside,

Andrew, who decided to take part in the event last September, added: “It seemed the perfect opportunity to give something back to the people who give so much physical and emotional support to so many patients and families at a difficult time.”

“The trek is entirely self-funded and Andrew said he sees it as a great way to “stay fit and try to do some good”.

The Butterwick Hospice runs three centres in the North-East and last year cared for nearly 2,000 people and their families.

The hospice only receives 30 per cent of its costs from the NHS and requires £3.7 million a year to care for all its patients.

People can sponsor Andrew by logging onto and clicking the link at the bottom of this story.