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Young Citizen: Barkingside teen walks 18-miles to raise more than £2k for charity

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 December 2018

Jessica Preston walked 18 miles from Barkingside to the South Bank to raise money for children in Need.

Jessica Preston walked 18 miles from Barkingside to the South Bank to raise money for children in Need.

Archant

A 14-year-old trekker who raised more than £2,000 by traversing the capital is this week’s Young Citizen nominee.

Jessica Preston walked 18-miles from her home in Barkingside through to the London Eye on the South Bank in central London to raise funds for charity Children in Need in March this year.

Describing how it feels to be nominated, she said: “Amazing - I never thought this would ever happen.

Jessica told the Recorder that she had been watching a television with her mum Mandie when a moving programme about a cancer survivor who was assisted by the charity came on.

At that moment, the penny dropped and she instantly knew that she wanted to raise money to help.

Mandie initially reacted to her daughter’s epiphany with scepticism.

“I was a really bad mum and was like ‘whatever,” Mandie said.

“But I went to bed and when I woke up the following morning, Jessica said ‘mum - I’ve done it!’”

Over night she had planned a route, set up a Justgiving page and designed a t-shirt emblazoned with her “March in March” logo.

Jessica was joined on her nine-hour trek by a large group of family members and friends.

Asked what the hardest part was she said: “The final half and hour – every one was thinking ‘I just want it to finish now.’”

A fan of maths and science, the Kantor King Solomon pupil hopes to become an engineer or an architect when she finishes school.

Mandie nominated her daughter for the Young Citizen Award and said: “I am amazingly proud.

“For her to raise all that money – it’s pretty impressive.”

Earlier this year Jessica also scooped a Jack Petchey Award.

The Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award is about celebrating the amazing young people in our borough.

It is run by the Recorder in conjunction with Redbridge Rotary Club, and sponsored by The Exchange shopping centre, Ilford, which provides each monthly winner with a £30 gift card. The Young Citizen of the Year will be crowned at the Mayor’s Community Awards.

You can nominate any person from Redbridge, as long as they are under-25, by emailing aaron.walawalkar@archant.co.uk

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