Fundraisers hit target in nick of time

Date: Friday 25th May 2018
The Three Peaks challenge walkers celebrating on the summit of Snowdon.
The Three Peaks challenge walkers celebrating on the summit of Snowdon.

INTREPID fund-raisers hailed a “massive team effort” as they completed a daunting 24-hour Three Peaks challenge — with less than four minutes to spare.

A 12-strong group set their sights on scaling Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon within a day. They did it to raise money and support the 250 or so youngsters who make up Penrith Rugby Club’s junior section.

Blessed by fine weather at the weekend, they first hiked up and down a snow-capped Ben Nevis (1,345m, 4,413ft) in Scotland in five-and-a-half hours.

They found themselves half an hour behind their schedule but made that up as they conquered Scafell Pike — England’s highest mountain at 978m (3,209ft) — in just three hours, seeing a stunning sunrise early on Sunday in the process.

In between they lost one team member to a knee injury.

But the 11 remaining walkers — backed by a support crew of four dedicated drivers — then tackled Snowdon (1,085m, 3,560ft) in Wales. And the last man made it up and down with just three minutes and 54 seconds of the 24 hours to spare as the others cheered him on.

“Job done — just in the nick of time,” reflected group spokesman Gary Atkinson. “It was exciting right to the end. If we had got stuck in any road traffic that would have been it all over. Just under four minutes to spare to get that done, travelling all those miles across the UK and all that walking — it’s not a lot of time.”

The group received vital backing from Penrith-based Atkinson Building Contractors — which supplied two vehicles — and rugby club sponsorA. W. Jenkinson, which funded fuel. The hikers were able to keep followers at home updated through Facebook Live.

“I think one big thing for the whole event was just team work,” said 41-year-old Gary. “It was one massive team effort and it was brilliant!

“Every step of the way if somebody needed help we would drop back and encourage them on; or there would be somebody at the front, leading the way, just powering on to keep the pace right. That kept everybody going.”

The walkers hope to hit their £3,000 fund-raising target. “It’s all for the kids.

Things to help them with their rugby,” Gary added. “It could be kit, more courses for the coaches, whatever we need to do just to improve the facilities for them.”

To make a donation, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gary-atkinson-1