Jackie is Ark's Queen of the Jungle

'I’m A Celebrity' is well and truly in the public spotlight but Ark Cancer Centre Charity already has its own Queen of the Jungle.

Charity champion Jackie Wicks has returned home after conquering a jungle challenge – and she is delighted to have achieved her goal of raising a four-figure sum for Ark’s £5million appeal that will help to fund a new NHS cancer treatment centre at Basingstoke hospital.

Jackie was part of a 32-strong group who took part in Dream Challenges Britain V Cancer quest through jungle territory and traditional Cambodian villages on route to a spectacular finish line at the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat.

Veterinary receptionist Jackie, who self-funded her participation on the challenge, is a well-travelled adventurer and fundraiser, and Ark is the latest good cause to benefit from her charitable efforts.

The 48-year-old mum, from Goodman Close, Basingstoke, certainly had a taste of the ‘I’m A Celebrity’ experience during the five-day trek as she slept on the jungle floor, and ended up sampling tarantula, scorpion and spider samosa in a bug café.

“It was a hot and very humid trekking adventure,” said Jackie. “The highlight was seeing the amazing temples, including one that featured in a Lara Croft movie. It is a very poor country, but the people were all lovely, and the tourism industry is certainly taking off.

“I always try to find a local good cause to support, and I am delighted to have raised funds for Ark Cancer Centre Charity this time. I’m thrilled to have smashed my £1,000 target – thank you so much to everyone who has supported my fundraising.”

Jackie, who has been well-supported by her employer GP Vets, of Worting Road, Basingstoke, raised money through sponsorship support and also through other events during 2018, including cake sales and a quiz.

Mark Jones, director of fundraising and communications for Ark Cancer Centre Charity, said: “Congratulations to Jackie on her jungle trek achievement. She has been training hard for this challenge, and it is great news that she has smashed her fundraising target. Her support for Ark and the cancer treatment centre project is much appreciated.”

Jackie has been raising money for Ark on The Good Exchange fundraising platform, and anyone who wishes to sponsor her can still do so at https://bit.ly/2IEoOZs

Ark’s £5m appeal will ensure a range of support services and complementary therapies are available alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments in a calm and uplifting environment.

The new centre, which will largely be funded by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will be built on the Basingstoke hospital site.

Picture caption: One of the photos from Jackie’s Cambodian jungle journey