April 16, 2024

Caroline Platt. Managing Director at Platts Agriculture treks for charity. Picture Mandy Jones

Action woman Caroline Platt is on a mission to visit the Seven Wonders of the World – and raise money for charity at the same time.

The next challenge for Caroline is a five-day, 100 kilometre trek in the baking heat of Wadi Rum desert in Jordan as she marks two important milestones.

She has just reached her 50th birthday and animal bedding specialists Platts Agriculture, the Wrexham-based family firm she heads up as managing director, is also celebrating its 50th anniversary.

This time Caroline will be raising money for the Swansea-based Faith in Families organisation which helps struggling families.

The desert trek, which gets underway on October 28, will be self-funded by Caroline so that every penny she raises will go to the charity.

She will be accompanied by her daughter, Claudia Whittaker, 24, who will be swapping a luxury super yacht aboard which she works as a stewardess, for the tough desert hike.

Faith in Families, which was established in 1999, is a charity with centres in Swansea and Brecon offering a range of services from childcare to lunch clubs.

Caroline is a close friend of the organisation’s chief executive, Cherrie Bija, and was inspired to take on the challenge after hearing about the charity’s work and the difference it makes to the lives of the families they support.

By taking part, Caroline will also be following in the footsteps of the legendary Lawrence of Arabia aka British army officer T.E. Lawrence, from Tremadog, in Gwynedd, who successfully united and led the often warring Arab tribes during World War One.

Caroline said: “My personal ambition is to do the Seven Wonders of the World and at the moment I have done three of them – the Coliseum in Rome, the Taj Mahal in India and Machu Picchu in Peru.

“Our ultimate destination on the Wadi Rum Challenge is the ancient city of Petra in Southern Jordan which is another of the Wonders of the World and dates back to 312 BC.

“We’re going to be coping with extreme temperatures – it’s going to be really hot in the day without any shade and extremely cold at night.

“I think the biggest challenge will be looking after our feet, preventing the sand from getting in the boots, with the heat and friction causing blisters.

“Along the way we’ll be climbing the highest mountain in Jordan, Jabal Umm ad Dami, which is around 800 metres higher than Snowdon, before dropping down to Petra.

“I’ll also be following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, who coincidentally was also from North Wales and was immortalised in David’s Lean’s classic, Oscar winning film starring Peter O’Toole in the title role.

“I am very lucky and I’m comfortably off so the discomfort I will experience in the desert does not compare with the hardships faced by families and children who are homeless and may be living on the streets.

“The work of Faith in Families is more important than ever because the cost of living crisis is adding to the pressure on families who were already struggling to survive, with problems exacerbated by the pandemic.

“We were delighted to be named as the UK’s best family firm at at the Federation of Small Businesses Awards last year and we share the same values as the charity when it comes to families.

Caroline added: “I’m ramping up the training and last weekend I did 14 miles from my home to Hope Mountain and back again.

“The very real needs of these families will inspire me and spur me on during the trek.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge but,  as I’ve turned 50  and Platts is also celebrating its 50th anniversary, this is my way of giving something back.”

According to Cherrie Bija, who is also the Chair of BBC Children in Need’s Impact Committee and a Trustee of Children in Wales, she’s hugely grateful to Caroline and the others taking part in the trek to raise vital funding for the organisation.

She said: “We want every child to have not only the chance to be their best but the opportunity to do so – whether that is to play football, cook amazing meals, create the best new hairstyle, be the most compassionate nurses, the next future politicians or business leaders in our city.

“Faith in Families has a vision where Swansea will be a city where every child can reach their full potential. Every child will feel safe and feel valued.

“Our mission is to build brighter futures rooted in our communities across Swansea, we nurture growth, cultivating fairer opportunities for all, especially during childhood. As childhood happens once in a lifetime and cannot be re-lived.”

In the meantime, Platts will be supporting a charity event to raise money for the Hospice of the Good Shepherd.

The company will be sponsoring a pantomime horse race at the Chester Racecourse, on Saturday, September 16.

The following day Platts will be entering a team in the annual Farndon Soap Box Derby.

Anybody who would like to make a contribution to Faith in Families can do so via 5 Days Trekking 100k across the Jordan desert! | Localgiving