A GROUP of office workers have raised over £1,700 for a Northwich charity after completing a gruelling 34-mile hike.

Workers from Qwest Services, who are based in Winsford, decided to take on the Sandstone Trail to help raise funds for Petty Pool vocational college and charity.

Sandiway-based Petty Pool provide education and training for young people with learning disabilities across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington.

And despite battling the elements on the day, the thought of helping such a great cause was a driving factor which helped the group to finish.

“The challenge was a lot harder than any of us ever thought it would be and even the seasoned walkers who do this sort of thing on a regular basis struggled,” said Denise Whiteland, who was among the group of 10 who completed the hike.

“We hoped to finish in 12 hours, but it ended up being over 14 and a half hours before we came to the end.

“The weather when we started was beautiful and sunny, which quickly turned into drizzle and then torrential rain.

“Although it was a really hard challenge, we all enjoyed it because we were supporting a good cause and that spurred us on.”

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The effort put into the challenge was appreciated most by the team at Petty Pool, who hope to use the funds to expand the area they operate in.

“The charity partnership with Qwest has been fantastic for Petty Pool and has already provided so many benefits,” said Petty Pool chief executive Jayne Wilson.

“The staff who embarked upon the Sandstone trail were magnificent in their efforts to complete the challenge and raise such an incredible amount.

“All fundraising has been allocated to our new classrooms which will enable us to work with more students this year.”

With another annual challenge coming to an end and despite a number of sore bodies, the Qwest Services team are already planning what fundraiser they can do next year.

“We are over the moon to have raised so much for a great charity and it was a lot more than we were anticipating, so we are already thinking about what to do next,” Denise added.

“Our aim is to go bigger and better every year, and this was the hardest challenge we have done to date.

“We have thought about a skydive or possibly taking on the three peaks challenge in Yorkshire, but we are looking forward to it whatever it will be.”