Dawson Cornwell/ChallengeAid – Welsh Three Peaks Challenge

Dawson Cornwell/ChallengeAid – Welsh Three Peaks Challenge

On 7th July 2023, a team of 10 intrepid participants from Dawson Cornwell undertook the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for the charity ChallengeAid which funds over 50 Schools of Hope in Kenya and of which Russell Bywater is a trustee.

Their challenge was to reach the summits of Pen y Fan, Cadair Idris and Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), all in only one day. Starting walking at 5am and finishing in fading light around 10pm, they drove 114 miles from South to North Wales and reached heights of 2,900 ft, 2,930 ft and 3,560 ft respectively, requiring around 60,000 steps per team member, walking close to 24 miles each over 12 hours of either ascending or descending in a 17 hour day. They hiked through the impenetrable mists of Pen y Fan and traversed the razor like edge of Cadair Idris before tackling the relentless (just get round the next corner) climb up Yr Wyddfa.

There was much moaning about rising at 4am (except for Jessica Reid who gets up at that time anyway with her baby). Simon Bruce and Stephen Harker were locked out of their room and then had their belongings cleared out by mistake. Stephen Harker had his glasses blown off by the howling gale at the top of Pen y Fan but experienced climber Floriane Laurelle, leapt down the mountainside and rescued them. Jessica Reid’s shoes fell apart on Yr Wyddfa and were fixed with tape and a sock, enabling her to battle on to the end. The other team members Sacha Lee, Kate Brett, Lucy Fisher, Amelia Alston and Nina Hunjan also emerged from the Snowdonia gloom like all-conquering Celtic warriors, challenged but unbowed.

Morale was kept up by a supply of jellybeans, bacon butties and Jessica Reid’s coffee cake.

We owe thanks not only to the Dawson Cornwell team, but also to the support team: Matteo Morandi their mountain guide, Iestyn Thomas founder of ChallengeAid, Bella and Sophie Witt, who acted as chauffeurs and Llandovery College who loaned us their minibus.

But none of this would have been worth it without the amazing 210 different donors who have contributed. Thus far the challenge has raised,with gift aid, close to a staggering  £20,000: the largest amount ever raised by a ChallengeAid team challenge. This will enable the charity to set up and run (for 2 years thereafter) 2 schools of hope which will be tagged as:

  1. The John Cornwell School of Hope
  2. The John Dawson School of Hope

as well as funding  the charity’s other objectives of replacing text books and particularly the very important sanitary pads scheme which helps attract and retain female pupils.  All funds raised go to those objectives, none to admin costs. Russell Bywater has recently visited the slum settlements in Mathare Kibera and Mjengo where he has witnessed the impact ChallengeAid is having with its SoH’s as well as in the Masai area of Kajiado County where the focus is on adult literacy. We are very grateful to the very many who sponsored us as these aspirational children will be who see these schools as now established gateways out of deprivation.

The team:
Russell Bywater, Stephen Harker, Jessica Reid, Simon Bruce, Kate Brett, Floriane Laurelle, Amelia Alston, Sacha Lee, Nina Hunjan and Lucy Fisher.

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