A keen walker has already climbed over 24,000ft in his bid to climb 54 mountains in part of the UK in memory of his wife, daughter and a good friend.
Chas Reading from Worcester, is walking in their memory and raising funds for St Richard’s Hospice who cared for his wife Dee and friend Bill Hopley. Mr Reading’s daughter Vicki died in a road traffic collision in 2002, four days after her 20th birthday.
He has set himself the challenge to climb every named peak in the Brecon Beacons National Park over 600 meters, which officially qualifies as a “mountain” in the UK.
Mr Reading hopes to finish the challenge during 2015 and has so far completed 41 peaks, driven 1,6662 miles to the start points and has walked 114 miles in 63 hours. The combined total distance he expects to walk is 175 miles, with a cumulative total assent on over 9,769 metres (32,000 feet). The highest single trip ascent already completed and taking in the three highest peaks has been 963 metres (3159 ft.); the highest single individual target ascent will be 588 metres (1929 ft.) After a very successful September when 18 targets were completed he has revised his completion date and now expects to complete the challenge within the first half of 2015.
Mr Reading’s late wife, Dee had cancer for five years and died peacefully at St Richard’s in 2007. Mr Reading said, “I wanted to fundraise for St Richard’s to repay the wonderful care they gave her during the last 12 days of her life. I also dedicate this challenge not only to Dee’s memory, but also my daughter Vicki and also a good friend Bill Hopley who died of the same cancer as Dee and was also cared for by St Richard’s.”
Mr Reading, 67, started walking in 2008 on the first anniversary of his late wife Dee’s death, walking the Shropshire Hills and collecting a small amount of donations for St Richard’s. After getting the walking bug, he repeated his walk for a few years before completing navigation courses and has since walked all over the UK and some walks abroad.
“I decided that the best way of maintaining the skills learned was to set myself a challenge in upland moors and mountain areas. Visiting the 54 peaks that qualify as a mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park seemed to fit the bill and I’m not even sure if this has been done before in this area!”
St Richard’s Hospice Fundraising Director Tricia Cavell said, “Chas has been a marvellous supporter of the hospice and we wish him well with his challenge and fundraising. It’s a mammoth task to take on but I’m sure he will achieve his aim.”
St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and supports their families. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,500 patients and family members in Worcestershire.
Patients are cared for in Day Hospice, the 17-bed In-patient Unit or in their own homes by a specialist professional team as well as many trained volunteers.
In the In-patient Unit specialist staff are on hand 24 hours a day to manage patients’ symptoms and where, if appropriate, patients may spend the last few days of life in comfort and dignity. St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help them to continue their work.