WALKERS with "stout knees and a strong back" are being sought for a charity trek along the Great Wall of China this October.

Until just days ago the Rosemere Cancer Foundation team had 20 members, but knee injuries and back problems have forced four walkers to be declared medically unfit and withdraw.

The charity says the six-day expedition will still go ahead, but Rosemere will lose its dedicated guide and have to join with groups trekking for other charities unless four new members can be recruited.

The team is to fly out to Beijing this October and has just started a training programme in readiness for their four to seven hours’ walking a day along China's most famous landmark.

Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s head of fundraising, who is himself a team member, said: "There is no question of the trek being called off. We will go to China as planned but unless we can get our team back up to 20 members, we will lose our dedicated guide and have to join with other groups trekking for other charities.

"While this isn’t a disaster, it was always our plan to be a self-contained Rosemere Cancer Foundation team and, if possible, we would like to stay as just that.

Dan will be trekking alongside Dr Gerry Skailes, an oncologist and clinical director for cancer services for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and her colleague Dr Jeyaram Srinivasan, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, who has also signed up his wife Krishna.

"We have a great mix of team members and I can assure anyone with the knees and back to join us they will receive a very warm welcome," said Dan. "There’ll be great camaraderie and the itinerary promises an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience.

The path the team is set to take will cover sections of the Great Wall as it follows the contours of hills and mountains in remote areas north of Beijing and snakes through woodland and terraced farmland.

Before returning home, the intrepid group will spend a day in Beijing to visit Tiananmen Square and the nearby Forbidden City.

The trip costs £1,730 plus a £299 booking fee. Trekkers are also expected to be sponsored to raise funds for Rosemere, which helps to bring world-class cancer services and treatments to patients in south Cumbria and Lancashire.. Anyone interested should contact Dan on 01772-528346.

For more on the charity, see www.rosemere.org.uk