A PA at a Wrexham finance firm has raised hundreds of pounds for charity by trekking through a huge thunderstorm on a Slovenian mountain range.

Fiona Clarke, who works for Hadlow Edwards Wealth Management, based in Regent Street, said her challenging trip started from the moment she arrived in the airport and ended with a descent through thunder and lightning during the four-day expedition in the Julian Alps.

Fiona, 24, of Connah’s Quay, said: “Unfortunately our plane was delayed by almost 24 hours so I wondered whether we were going to get there at one point so it was great to get started.

“I had been watching the weather forecast in the lead up to the trek and so I was aware there may be some extreme weather. On the final day we hit a terrific thunderstorm which prevented us from reaching the top. This was a shame but in some ways it meant it still turned into an adventure.”

The trek was organised by the St. James’s Place Foundation, the charitable arm of the FTSE 100 Company St. James’s Place which is one of the UK’s largest wealth management organisations and looks after client funds amounting to £79.8 bn.

Hadlow Edwards is a Principal Partner Practice of St. James’s Place and after joining the firm in July past year Fiona decided to take part in the charity trek and has raised £700 for the foundation.

Fiona said: “The views were breathtaking and well worth the effort to see them. It’s such a vast region and very spectacular. The water in the rivers was really clear and the landscape will definitely stay in my memory.

“On the Sunday, we were aiming to reach the top of the highest peak. We were about two thirds up, in this forest area, when the rain suddenly started to come down.

“The guides were excellent and told us we would wait a little while to see if it passed but it just got worse and worse and then the thunder and lightning started.

“The guides took the decision that it was too risky for us to carry on. We would have been even higher and on open ground when the storm broke and they were worried about lightning striking us.

“From then on and all the way back down, the rain was torrential and nothing was waterproof anymore. The thunder got really loud and lightning were breaking overhead.

“I have seen huge storms like this, during my travels abroad before, so although it was a bit scary and a relief to get down, I also felt a bit of disappointment not to have made it to the top!

“But there will be other times and I would like to go again next year.”

The formidable mountains are named after the mighty Roman leader Julius Caesar who founded a city at the foot of the range which stretch from north eastern Italy to Slovenia.

The region is home to a range of plants and wildlife including Golden Eagles and alpine marmots and goats.

Dominic Richmond, Operations Director for Hadlow Edwards, said: “Fiona has done brilliantly well to complete the trek in such challenging circumstances.

“We are glad she is back with us safely and pleased she was on the trek to represent Hadlow Edwards and raise a significant amount of money for a brilliant cause.”

Fiona’s charity excursion on rocky terrain in the limestone mountains comes just after Hadlow Edwards reached a milestone in its own charity fundraising for Nightingale House Hospice.

The company, founded and run by joint directors Medwyn Edwards and Warren Hadlow, has raised £20,000 over the last few years for Nightingale House Hospice via a client referral donation scheme and sponsoring some of the main events held in aid of the hospice on Chester Road.

Other charities supported by Hadlow Edwards include Nicola’s Fund, a charity inspired by talented young performer Nicola Riley who was a pupil of the prestigious Chester Hammond School thanks to her natural gifts for dance and drama.

Nicola of Llay was five days away from her 15th birthday when she passed away on April 20, 2005, following a long and determined fight against a brain tumour.

The charity, set up by Nicola’s parents Debbie and Steve, who works at Hadlow Edwards, helps families coping with childhood cancer to enjoy a well-deserved paid-for holiday.

Fiona is still collecting donations, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/FionaClarke6