An Andover student is hoping to overcome a condition that can cause her joints to dislocate as part of a quest to get her dream job.

Charli Lattimer has been diagnosed with grade nine hypermobility, which means her joints are very flexible and can cause her pain. The 18-year-old aspiring conservationist is aiming to virtually walk the distance from London to Manchester to raise funds for a university field trip.

She is hoping to raise £2,500 to go to South Africa in 2022, where she would “gain two weeks of vital, life changing animal experience.”

“I am raising money because I am out of work due to the pandemic,” she said, “and have a trip to South Africa to pay for as part of my degree.

“I am running the distance from London to Manchester to raise money and this is a huge challenge for me.”

Charli’s interest in animals stretches back to her childhood, where trips to the zoo inspired her to have a nature-based career.

“Ever since I was very young, I’ve loved animals,” she told the Advertiser. “I love that they are all completely different. I love taking care of them. I just think all animals are adorable, and they should have as much part in this world as we do”.

Charli currently cares for her puppy and a baby tortoise, but can’t add her ideal animal to the list.

“Unfortunately, I can’t have my dream pet, which is a snake,” she said, “because my mum has a phobia and I still live at home.”

Alongside reptiles, her favourite animals are large carnivores, something which saw her, at the age of two, announce to her parents that she wanted to be a veterinary surgeon in a Zoo, but sadly missed out on the chance to do so after the impact of Covid on her A-level work meant she didn’t quite get the grades she needed. Instead, she is now set on caring for animals and conserving them, leading her to take a course in animal management at Sparsholt College.

As part of the course, Charli and other students can travel to South Africa for a two week residential course, which she says is “a once in a lifetime experience”.

“We get to live on a wildlife reserve and experience all of those animals and help look after them,” she said. “I have thought about working abroad, in Africa and elsewhere, and it does truly sound amazing. I would love to work with them in their own natural habitat”.

However, with the course costing thousands of pounds, and the pandemic limiting job opportunities, she has decided on a fundraiser to get her to South Africa, where she will walk the distance from London to Manchester across the coming weeks.

“I’m covering 265km in total,” she said. “Now, some people will look at that and say that until my birthday on March 19, that’s not really that far. But for me, as a grade nine hypermobile where my joints can dislocate just from walking, and things hurt just because it’s cold, it’s a much bigger challenge.

“I’m really determined to do it, because I climbed Mount Snowdon with this issue as well so I’m really determined to get there.”

Charli began walking earlier this week, and will continue walking until she has hit her goal. If you would like to contribute to her fundraiser, please click here.