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Issue 303 – Freewheelers’ mountain challenge success!

The Rotary Club of Frome Selwood entered a team in the Rotary Sightsavers Mountain Challenge, climbing three mountains in the space of 24 hours.

‘The Freewheelers’ were the only team from the Rotary District 1200, which covers Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset.
The challenge involved climbing Ben Nevis, Helvellyn and Snowdon mountains in the 24 hour period. The first mountain was Ben Nevis and the team had a start time of 2.15pm last Saturday. Helvellyn was climbed in the middle of the night with the aid of torches.
The walking team members comprised Claire Hewish (leader); Peter Bennett; Stuart Archer; Tracey Martin; and Tom Mayo. The team was supplemented by two volunteer drivers Mike Hewish and Stewart Ackland. Three of the team members are employees of Wheeler’s electrical contractors in Westbury, and the company provided substantial sponsorship. Two of the team are members of Frome Selwood Rotary Club, who also provided financial sponsorship. The team has been in training since January.
The team finished the walk on Sunday evening in 28 hours 22 minutes, but actual walking time was 18 hours 22 minutes. The team anticipate raising over £6,000 for Sightsavers. The sum of £7,500 would enable Sightsavers to train three nurses in India in sight-saving treatment and/or surgery. Over the span of a working career their nurses will treat 35,000 people; the walk could therefore be instrumental in restoring the sight of some 100,000 people.
Peter Bennett said, “The walk was tougher than we expected, especially Ben Nevis where path ‘improvements’ have made it incredibly difficult to walk on – all loose rubble and shale. The weather was dry and fairly clear on Ben Nevis, but we had to cross snowfields (yes deep snow in June) on the top which were a bit slippery!
Helvellyn was a nightmare – climbing in the dark, cold, thick mist and driving rain and we got lost and did several miles extra.
Snowdon was just an aching slog in the pouring rain and cold winds, but there was a fantastic sense of achievement when we crossed the finishing line!”
If you would like to help Frome Selwood Rotary Club make the total contribution to Sightsavers International up to £7,500, please visit www.justgiving.com/free-wheelers or if you prefer, send a cheque addressed to “Sightsavers International”, to Michael Hewish, at 5 Greenacres, Dilton Marsh, Westbury, Wilts, BA13 4BR.

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