23-Jul-2012 Source: Bond Air Services
In 2011, one of our dear friends and work colleagues was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.Â It was decided that the company should undertake a fundraising challenge to support a charity of her choice;Â FOCUS (Fund forOncologyÂ CentreÂ Users andÂ Supporters) based at Cheltenham Hospital. When the Company Librarian, Mark Lloyd-Davies suggested the Three Peaks Challenge, he initially thought 3 or 4 people would be interested. Inundated by enthusiastic replies, however, it was not too long before a bigger challenge was hatched.
Even before the decision to back FOCUS, our Head of Maintenance Dave Malins had already been accepted for the Paris Marathon, running in support of Help for Heroes. For the previous two years the company had also been involved in the Dragon Boat Regatta in Gloucester docks, to raise money for CLIC Sargent â€“ something our tireless organiser Dave was keen to keep up.
3 challenges, 3 charities and in an Olympic year â€“ the â€˜Bond Air Services 2012 Olympiad Charity Challengeâ€™ was born.Â It was now time to start fundraising and organising our challenges in earnest.
The teamâ€™s fitness plan included local lunchtime runs around Chosen Hill and beyond, weekend runs around the country as well as many walks in the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and Yorkshire.
The first challenge was back in April with Dave Malins competing in the Paris Marathon. After months of training, he completed the run in a very respectable time of 3 hours 25 minutes, suffering a few blisters along the way.
The next challenge was the annual Dragon Boat Regatta in May. After paddling hard in blustery conditions to reach the final, the team were only beaten into third place by less than Â½ a second.
On to the final challenge of the year, the Three Peaks. Â The challenge to ascend, descend and travel between the 3 highest mountains in England, Scotland & Wales within a 24 hour period. No mean feat!
With bags packed and outdoor gear donned, it was time for the team of 15 walkers and 6 support crew to set off for adventures north of Staverton and beyond. The Three Peaks Challenge had finally arrived and it was time to put all that practise into reality.
After an overnight stop, we arrived in Fort William ready for our trip up Ben Nevis which, thanks to some low cloud, was nowhere to be seen! Â After a final shopping expedition, we packed our bags and headed for the summit. It was not too long before we hit the cloud, rain and wind just prior to the snowâ€¦and the summit.Â Â Amazingly we had reached it in just under 2 hours, passing plenty of people on the way. We all arrived back at base camp, to the smell of the support teamâ€™s pasta, tea and a well-deserved set of dry clothes.Â Buses were loaded and we set off south for the next mountain â€“ ahead of schedule!
Onwards towards the Lake District and it did not seem too long before reveille was sounding and the call to â€˜kit upâ€™ was announced on the radios.Â Â 0315, Scafell Pike car park: head torches checked, maps loaded, rucksacks packed, out of the buses and we were off again. A trail of white lights showed the way, but it was not too long before our path became a sheep track, which became a â€˜Where are we?â€™!Â It was now down to the skills of certain elite-trained members of the team to lead us to the path and eventually the summit. With an hour lost in cloud and heavy rain, it was safe to say that Scafell Pike was not a great place to be that Saturday morning.
With morale a little low, we were now behind schedule and were facing a sprint up and down Snowdon; it was time for something radical in order to recover the time.Â Every perceivable short cut was taken and before you knew it we were crossing the border into North Wales â€“ and sunshine!Â We once again donned our wet clothes for the final push, Snowdon.Â We now had just 3 Â½ hours to complete the challenge within the allotted 24hrsâ€¦.could we do it?Â You bet we could!Â Â With stiff legs and sore feet, the team headed up the famous Pyg Track, once again not to be disappointed by the weather at the summitâ€¦cloud, drizzle and wind!Â Not wishing to stay long, it was a case of job done and head for home. Â The final descent seemed easy, the light was finally at the end of the tunnel and whilst some still had energy to run down the final mountain, some took the more leisurely approach and made it just in time. 22.5 miles on foot, climbing and descending 11,175 ft, Â and 1,100 miles in now very smelly vans and car â€“ done!
To date, the Bond Air Services 2012 Olympiad Charity Challenge has surpassed its fundraising target of Â£3,000 and is heading towards Â£4,500.Â All donations will be split equally between the three charities CLIC Sargent, Help for Heroes and FOCUS in order that people whose lives have been turned upside down can enjoy the best care and support on offer today.