On path to freedom

Veronica Hegarty is walking from North Beach to Bondi Beach to raise money to free bears. Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d417430
Veronica Hegarty is walking from North Beach to Bondi Beach to raise money to free bears. Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d417430

The newly retired beauty therapist set out early on March 30 for the solo unassisted, self-funded trek across the arbor to Bondi Beach.

While satisfying a love of travel and ticking off a lengthy bucket list, Veronica (70) is promoting and accepting donations for the Free the Bears Fund.

‘My recent volunteer work in Cambodia for Free the Bears and the wonderful work Mary Hutton and her team do made me want to assist,’ she said.

‘Cambodia is a poor country but the bear sanctuary is the best I’ve ever seen.’

Equipped with rucksack and small tent, Veronica hopes to walk up to 30km a day, staying in camping grounds and in the bush.

‘I’m very excited but a little hesitant about the unknown,’ she said before heading off for Great Eastern Highway.

Veronica, who as a young woman was an aerialist with Barnum and Bailey and Ring- ling Brothers circuses, has always loved walking and climbing.

She has trekked through the Gobi Desert, completed the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, walked from Brisbane to Sydney with husband John and, at 68, climbed Mt Kilimanjaro.

‘I’m adventurous and I’ve just got to do these things,’ she said.

Veronica is no stranger to volunteering, researching the Arabian leopard in Oman and desert elephants in Namibia, rescuing elephants in Cambodia and doing development work for the poor in Mongolia.

Make donations marked Veronica to the Save the Bears website.