Sudbury Salvation Army member sets sights on 4,000-metre ascent in memory of stillborn son
A lifelong Salvation Army member, whose lost her baby son in 2012, has set her sights on one of Africa’s tallest mountains, to give back to a charity that helped her through the most difficult time of her life.
Pam Chinery, of Hardy Court, Sudbury, will trek up Mount Toubkal in Morocco – an ascent of approximately 4,167 metres – in September, as part of a fundraising expedition organised by the Salvation Army.
The 44-year-old, a senior soldier at the Sudbury Salvation Army, is driven on by the memory of her stillborn son Zachary, who would have celebrated his eighth birthday in October this year.
She aims to raise more than £2,000 for the charity’s branch in Station Road, which she described as a huge part of her life and her safe place to go in times of need.
“They have helped me fight back after nearly two years of having depression,” said Pam, who also volunteers at the charity’s elderly day care service, which runs every Monday and Friday.
“The Sudbury Corps have helped me so much. I always feel safe coming back to it.
“I’ve been involved with the Salvation Army on and off since I was about four years old. It’s the only church I know.”
She explained she was motivated to join the fundraiser, despite having no experience in mountain climbing, after a counsellor at the Sudbury-based Kernos Centre suggested it would be good to have something to look forward to.
“It’s a three-day trek up the highest mountain in North Africa,” she said.
“I thought about a holiday, but I couldn’t find anything because I’m on my own, and I thought about volunteering abroad, but that seemed very expensive.
“I have no experience of mountain climbing, but when this came to my attention, I thought, ‘I can do that’.”
Since confirming her participation in the climb, which will take place between September 9 and 13, Pam said she has received great support from the Salvation Army.
The charity’s community carol service, held shortly before Christmas, raised almost £400 towards the cause, and she expects the total to reach £600 by the end of this week through further donations, with more fundraisers to be announced starting next month.
She has also joined Gymophobics, the women-only gym located on Market Hill, in order to train for the expedition.
Pam added that she has received great support from Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, over the last seven years, which led to her becoming a committee member for Sands in west Suffolk.
“There are people I can talk to who have been through the same thing,” she said. “Everyone there knows what you are going through.
“It has made a lot of difference. Most people won’t talk about baby loss. I mention it and people go silent. You don’t feel like you’re the only one.”
Anyone who would like to donate to Pam’s cause can do so by going online to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pamszactrek.
More by this authorThomas Malina