A single mother from Rackheath is raising cash to fund a jungle trek to help endangered orangutans.

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Samantha Payne, who has two boys aged 15 and 20, is set to tackle the Sumatran jungle project in April next year in a bid to highlight wild orangutans’ struggle for survival.

The 45-year-old, who works as a consultant for Body Shop at Home, said: “I had a big cancer scare earlier this year and had a non-malignant tumour removed from my thyroid, so as soon as I was recovered and saw this challenge I knew straight away that I wanted to do something more with my life and help however I can.

“The trek is through tropical rainforest in Sumatra and will be tough going in very humid conditions with the only washing facilities being the river.

“I’m raising £3,600 to do the trek and have contributed £500 of my own money and am raising the rest by sponsorship and organising different events.”

She is involved in a Facebook auction that started on November 1 and will run throughout the rest of the month and December.

She added: “I have some fantastic items up for auction including a limited edition signed print of an orangutan and her baby donated by the Norfolk artist Chris Wright.

“Also a copy of David Attenborough’s new book ‘Drawn from Paradise’ which Jarrold in Norwich kindly donated, and I queued in the rain to get signed by Sir David Attenborough and Errol Fuller, plus people from all over the world have sent me things to auction.

“Funky Monkeys, Epic Studios and Charisma Hair and Beauty have also donated but if anyone else would like to donate something for the auction it would be fantastic.”

She has also organised a craft and gift fundraiser from 11am until 4pm tomorrow at the Royal British Legion social club in Aylsham Road, Norwich.

Next April she will be tackling the jungle with 23 other trekkers from 20 different areas and countries where The Body Shop operates.

Orangutans are being driven to the brink of extinction in the wild due to loss of habitat and encroachment by man. Huge areas of rainforest are being cleared to make way for more and more palm oil plantations, and the orang-utan is just one of the species under threat.

For a link to the auction search for “Awesome auction for orangutans” on Facebook and to sponsor Samantha go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SamanthaPayne

- Are you doing something extraordinary? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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