Essex mum gears up for bear trek through Vietnam

PUBLISHED: 16:14 20 September 2009 | UPDATED: 21:54 31 May 2010

Cheryl Lawrence  Picture: SUBMITTED

Cheryl Lawrence Picture: SUBMITTED

A MOTHER-OF-TWO from Great Sampford is in training for a trekking challenge through the hills of Northern Vietnam to support the rescue of black bears. Cheryl Lawrence from Moor End is hoping to raise more than £3000 for Animals Asia Foundation (AAF). I

A MOTHER-OF-TWO from Great Sampford is in training for a trekking challenge through the hills of Northern Vietnam to support the rescue of black bears.

Cheryl Lawrence from Moor End is hoping to raise more than £3000 for Animals Asia Foundation (AAF).

"I found out about the work of AAF about five years ago," said Cheryl. "What impressed me was their approach to animal welfare - they are helping to bring about change from within China and Vietnam by working with the people and the authorities to tackle abuse and to restore respect for animals."

In parts of Vietnam and China, Asiatic black bears are farmed for their bile - a digestive juice stored in the gall bladder which is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

AAF is working with the Chinese government to close down bear farms and compensate the farmers. Since October 2000, over 245 bears have been released into the care of AAF at its rescue centre in Sichuan, southwest China.

On October 15, Mrs Lawrence will fly to Hanoi to begin the first leg of a 10-day trek that will take her and eleven other animal lovers to one of the most unspoiled destinations in Asia.

They will also be meeting and staying with families from some of the ethnic tribes that live in the hills, including the Red Dao and Black Hmong ethnic minorities.

Cheryl is paying for her own flight and accommodation so that every penny she raises will go to help the bears. Anyone wishing to sponsor her can do so at www.justgiving.com/cheryl-lawrance or they can send a cheque made payable to Animals Asia Foundation to Quince Tree Cottage, Moor End, Great Sampford. Contact Cheryl by email at Cheryl@quince-tree.demon.co.uk.

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