Hiking challenge in memory of Fiona raises £75k
The team of walkers at the foot of Ben Nevis at the weekend.
Fiona Walker (blonde) with close friend Katie Yarrow.
AN INCREDIBLE £75,000 has been collected for the Teenage Cancer Trust after a group of fundraisers scaled three of the UK's highest peaks in 24 hours - in memory of a Gullane teenager who last her battle with the disease.
The team of 23 walkers, ranging from ages 14 to 59, set off on Saturday from East Lothian for Ben Nevis at around 5pm, wasting no time in climbing Scotland's tallest peak, reaching the top at 7.20pm and climbing back down by 9.30pm.
There was little rest for the walkers as they headed South to Scafell Pike in the Lake District, which they scaled at 3am on Sunday in just under three hours, before travelling to Wales to tackle the final challenge, Mount Snowdon.
The fundraising event, which has gained £75,000 in donations, was organised by friends of Fiona Walker, who passed away aged just 19 at her home on November 27 last year.
A former pupil of Gullane Primary, who also attended Belhaven Hill School in Dunbar, Fiona was a regular visitor to the Western as she underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, after being diagnosed in early 2011 with a glioblastoma of the central nervous system - one of the most aggressive forms of malignant tumour.
Norman Yarrow, 52, from Gifford, one of the chief organisers of the Three Peaks Challenge said: "All the team are very proud of having completed the challenge in some severe weather conditions and if any of us had any doubts whether they would make it, the thought of Fiona kept them going. She would have been as tenacious as any of us to make it to the end within the 24 hour target.
"We are all greatly humbled by the generosity and time given by so many to help raise £75,000 and the support given to us by our friends and family.
"It was very wet and cold as we were climbing up Ben Nevis, but as were coming down the clouds broke and we got this lovely view of the Western Isles, while Scafell Pike was really slippery and wind and we faced torrential rain. But thew whole group managed to finish within 24 hours, from our oldest walker, Michael Black, who is 59, to our youngest was James Metcalfe, who is 14.
"We had a support team of 14, and the catering was fantastic. They kept us going with bacon rolls at the bottom of Scafell Pike, and gave us TLC.
"I would like to extend a big thank you to all the other 36 members of the team for their tremendous support and to the walkers for the hours of training they have put in, to make it an outstanding success and a fitting tribute in memory of Fiona Walker.
Mr Yarrow explained the walkers had received a lot of support, thanking his wife Carol, and the whole support team, as well Alan Fortune, of Fortune Taxis in Gifford, who provided a 16 person mini-bus to help the group get from peak to peak, and himself as a driver.
Their efforts have been welcomed by the Teenage Cancer Trust, with the £75,000 raised so far going towards creating a purpose build ward for young people suffering from cancer, at the Western General in Edinburgh.
Louise Stirton, a fundraiser for the Trust, who took part in the event, said: "I want to thank everyone who took part in this Three Peaks challenge especially Norman Yarrow who organised it. There were 25 of us taking part, but we also had a great support team, and it's a testimony to everyone's determination and commitment that all of us finished the challenge in the allotted time, despite the terrible weather!"
To donate visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ and search for Fiona Walker's Cancer Trust Appeal.
This article appeared in East Lothian Courier 03 Jul 12
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Jul 4, 03:38