Fashion mogul overcomes fear of heights to complete charity trek

Two pictures of Anna Parks, one in an ANNA store, one as she sets off on her 40km trek.

Founder of ANNA, Anna Parks has overcome her fear of heights to raise money for Mind Over Cancer. - Credit: ANNA

The founder of a fashion empire has overcome her fear of heights to raise £3,745 for a cancer charity.

Anna Park, 57, is the owner of independent womenswear retailer ANNA, which has stores in Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge.

In May, Anna swapped her high heels for hiking boots to take part in the Selvaggio Blu - a five-day 40km trekking route in Sardinia, Italy.

She only started climbing three weeks before she was due to leave for her trip, meaning her aversion to heights became a particularly worrying factor when she was on the practice climbing wall.

Anna said: "I thought 'why am I doing this?', then I told myself I'd do it for Mind Over Cancer. As soon as I decided that, I had the courage to face my fear."

Sleeping outside in the open air and carrying all her own supplies, Anna described the trek as a "gruelling" experience - tough in both the physical and mental senses.

At one point, she became stuck as she couldn't find any further footholds to propel her forwards, but managed to free herself with the aid of another climber.

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She also had to abseil 40m and, while she's glad she completed the trek to fundraise for an important cause, she said she'll "never climb again".

Mind Over Cancer supports the mental health of young people given a cancer diagnosis between the ages of 0 and 29, as well as their family and support network.

Anna said she first got involved with the charity after she met the two founders, Susie and Helen, at a meeting and felt "their passion to help people was unbelievable".

She added: "I decided to support them as I believe they offer a unique service that is desperately needed.

"It's easy to forget the repercussions that cancer has on the family and friends around the sufferer and that is why I'm keen to help out."

Following on from this challenge, Anna is looking to make Mind Over Cancer ANNA's charity of the year and, while she'll never climb again, she is continuing to complete different activities to fundraise for the charity.