Two friends from Cullen Wealth put their stamina to the test in a gruelling 56-mile hike in treacherous weather to raise money for children with life-limiting conditions.
Paul Brennan, 45, and Rob Doogan, 36, both from Cheshire, work as senior consultants for Cullen Wealth Ltd in Stockport. They hiked across hills and dales to raise money for Francis House Children’s Hospice.
Cullen Wealth has supported Francis House Children’s Hospice for many years.
The daring duo spent nearly 24 hours in the Peak District walking through the night on the Bullock Smithy Hike. They contended with navigating their way in the dark, torrential rain, flooding, deep mud, and rocky and steep descents.
Paul said: “I knew the walk would be a huge challenge where I would really have to push myself otherwise there would be a real chance of failure as a quarter of people fail to complete the hike. To give me the extra motivation I knew I would need walking through the night I wanted to feel I was completing it for a great cause.
“The hike was an amazing challenge with great scenery and people. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and I could barely walk afterwards, although for some reason I am yet to understand I would do it again!”
Rob said: “I can honestly say that there are no words to do justice to how difficult it was! We had 24 hours to pass through 14 checkpoints in the correct order. The entire course is a circular route around the Peak District covering 56 miles, with total climbing involved of 8000ft. It rained torrentially for the first five hours, and so our kit was saturated and the ground treacherous. This made negotiating the course all the more difficult with rocky descents slippery and hill side path either flooded or covered in deep mud.
“By nightfall at around 24 miles, (with over 30 miles still to go) we were both suffering with blisters and had to dig deep to carry on. We grouped with some experienced people who knew the route and this made navigation in darkness easier, however by this time we were exhausted and we just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. By the time we reached checkpoint 11 of 14, we had walked all night, and when it became light again we still had 13 more miles to cover. Thankfully we were able to see the job through just in time.”
Francis House Fundraising Officer Kate Puc praised the pair’s effort: “What they managed is an enormous feat to say the least! It is a great achievement to complete this challenge, and they also managed to raise a fantastic £1,223.96. It’s greatly appreciated and a welcome addition to the funding needed for vital care we provide for our children and families who frequent Francis House.”
Francis House Children’s Hospice provides respite care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions and the necessary support and short-term rest for their families. The hospice supports families from all across the North West of England.
All services are given completely free and by far the largest part of funding comes through charitable donations. The major part of the hospice’s funding is from donations and this year it will cost £4.2 million to operate the service, with 89p of every pound donated spent directly on the care of children.