Tragedy won't deter trekkers

A ROCKHAMPTON trekking group is soldiering on along the Kokoda Track after a member of a similar team from Townsville died on Sunday, halfway along the trail.

Paul Bradfield, a 38-year-old father of four, died after suffering breathing difficulties while he was doing the trek to raise funds for Camp Quality.

There are now 11 Rockhampton Camp Quality fundraisers doing the same trail including 22-year-old Jess O'Neill.

Jess's mum Robyn told The Morning Bulletin yesterday she'd spoken with her daughter on Sunday night and passed on the news that Mr Bradfield had died.

Robyn said Jess was shocked to hear the news.

The Rockhampton team had passed the Townsville group on the trek on Saturday.

Since Jess arrived at Kokoda on September 20, Robyn said two members from the Rockhampton team had returned to Australia.

Robyn said that despite the hiccup, Jess and her team were all in good health.

“I asked her and she said everything was fine; everyone was well. She's got a bit of a sore knee, but had a nice rest day,” Robyn said.

“You're always concerned (for your kids).

“You soldier on,” she said.

Before she left for her Kokoda trip, Jess spoke to The Morning Bulletin after a plane that was transporting Australians to the track crashed on its way over.

Jess had said her parents were a little nervous about the trip, but she wasn't going to back down.

“You can't let these kind of things stop you because you've got to live your life and if you don't you're just going to be sitting at home all day,” Jess said.

Jess and the CQ team arrives back in Rockhampton on October 3.

Mr Bradfield died on Sunday morning.

He had spent six months preparing for the walk for Camp Quality, which had assisted the family in helping their youngest daughter, Haidee, battle leukaemia.

Mr Bradfield was the third Australian to die this year while tackling the steep and muddy conditions of the Kokoda Track.

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