5 Peaks, 5 nations, 55 hours!
By Neil Bailey
"It's about the 'blokes', our men and womenof the Armed Forces. It's about Derek, a rugby player who has lost both his legs, it's about Carl whose jawis wired up so he has been drinking through a straw. It's about Richard who washanded a mobile phone as he lay on the stretcher so he could say goodbye to hiswife. It's about Ben, it's about Steven and Andy and Mark, it's about them all. They are just blokes but they are ourblokes; they are our heroes. We want to help our heroes."
InJuly 2012 I will be doing a Help for Heroes challenge called the fivepeaks. The challenge covers over17,000ft of ascent, 40 miles of mountain paths, 800 miles of tarmac, crosses 4national borders and one sea as I take on Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike inEngland, Ben Nevis in Scotland, Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland andCarrantuohill in the Republic of Ireland.
Why do a challenge like this, and why for Helpfor Heroes?
Why do the challenge? Well a quote from Sir Edmund Hilary comes tomind "It's not the mountain weconquer, but ourselves." Just over five years ago I was diagnosed withME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At thattime I was walking about 20 yards with two sticks. Some people with ME are bed bound foryears. Personally I'm too stubborn forthat and so since then I've been working hard to keep moving and keep working. So its time for a real challenge so I canprove to myself despite my ME I can still achieve something.
Why Help for Heroes? My brotheris a Squadron Leader in the RAF and has been over to Afghanistan four timesnow, in fact he's over there as I am typing this. He hasn't needed Help for Heroes and fingerscrossed he never will but many people have done. This charity workson projects and initiatives that make a real difference to the lives of ourwounded heroes. I also love their 'MoneyIn and Money Out' policy that ensures every penny raised is spent or allocatedto the direct, practical support of our men and women of the Armed Forces whoselives are affected in the line of duty.
On a local level the ColchesterPersonnel Recovery Centre is a new build centrewithin the garrison at Colchester. Help for Heroes (H4H) have agreed a deed ofgrant with the MoD to provide up to £6 million for the capital build of thecentre. The operating costs of thecentre are to be funded by H4H with support from The Royal British Legion, whohas committed £550,000 per annum over the ten year period, with a projectedadditional contribution of £200,000 per annum from H4H. The MoD has alsocommitted to the centre.
Throughoutmy training, fundraising and even during the walk itself I am going to attemptto keep a blog going for those of the internet inclination at http://5peaks.blogspot.com/. This is myfirst blog so be gentle with me. Feelfree to follow my posts and add your own comments. Many of you will most likely see me out andabout with my mad Springer Spaniel called Freddie, whether around Little and GreatWaltham, and also Hylands Park. So ifyou think it's me come and say hello
During2011 I have been raising money for Help for Heroes. Firstly in April doing the London Marathondressed as He-Man (don't ask) and then in November doing what I called Mr B'sMadcap Month (photo to the right from Survival of the Fittest in Battersea)where I did four muddy adventure races in four weeks.
Forthis amazing 5 Peaks challenge I have a target of £1300. My fundraising page is http://www.bmycharity.com/5PeaksChallenge so please do sponsor meand support our heroes. Any online payment means we can claim Gift Aid which gets us even moremoney back from the ta