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Man takes on mammoth mountain challenge

6th September 2017

An ambitious son scaled 15 mountains in less than 20 hours to raise more than £1,000 for the hospice which cared for his mother.

Darren Watkins, from Knightwick, near Malvern, completed the demanding Welsh 3,000 challenge last month in memory of Maureen Watkins, who died of cancer at St Richard’s Hospice in March.

The challenge saw the former Royal Engineer ascend 15 peaks of more than 3,000ft, spread over three Welsh mountain ranges, in just 19 hours and 40 minutes, despite adverse weather conditions – and a fear of heights.

Mr Watkins said: “I decided to tackle this challenge to raise money for St Richard’s Hospice and also as way of saying thanks after I witnessed this great facility look after my mother.”

The 43-year-old began the challenge by scaling Snowdon with three friends, before continuing to the treacherous Crib Goch ridge and taking on another two peaks.

“As someone who has a fear of heights, this was the part of the challenge I dreaded most – but with limited visibility it actually made it easier for me not to see the shear drops that lays both sides of the narrow ridge,” explained Mr Watkins.

The group then tackled Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr, Y Garn and Foel-fras before Mr Watkins climbed Carnedd Gwenllian, Foel Grach, Yr Elen, Carnedd Llewelyn, Carnedd Dafydd, Pen yr Ole Wen and Tryfan alone.

Darren Watkins holds a photo of his mother Maureen on top of a mountainMr Watkins said: “My mother asked to visit St Richard’s a few months before she became so ill she was in need of its support and was blown away by the relaxed atmosphere and respect given to those within its care.

“When she was admitted I visited her every day, along with many family members and friends, and was always made welcome.

“We were always spoken to with compassion from the staff and in her final days it became home for me, my dad and two of my mum’s sisters. Me and my father have visited since and placed a heart in memory of mum on the Tree of Life.

“I look at my times visiting my mum as happy times at the hospice but in sad circumstances. We all fear death and hate the thought of losing a loved one but this pain is made bearable in places such as St Richard’s.”

To make a donation to Mr Watkins visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darren-watkins5

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During this challenging time, we are doing our utmost to continue caring for the patients and loved ones who need us most.

The way we work has been adapted, with many of our services delivered remotely – such as over the phone, or by video call. And we are working closely with other health care professionals in Worcestershire to share knowledge and expertise at this time.

Latest changes at St Richard’s Hospice

  • In-patient Unit: To protect patients and staff  from the spread of the virus, we are following national guidance and therefore it is with regret we are not able to accept visitors. Please do not hesitate to contact the In-patient Unit with any questions on 01905 958163. Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.
  • Community Nursing: Community services continue to operate, with a mixture of hands-on care and remote support.
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Please do not visit St Richard’s Hospice if you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough. If you have these symptoms, please stay at home and self-isolate for seven days. See NHS advice on coronavirus.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this difficult time.