Hi Sunshine News readers,
It has been an exciting week here at Sunshine HQ as we welcomed the newest member of Team Sunshine, Sophie.
Sophie is joining us as our Marketing and Communications Officer having recently moved to the North East from down South. Now, we may have a thing or two to teach her about life here in the Toon (stotties, our love of Greggs, mince dinners... I could go on), but she has already proved to be a fantastic addition to Team Sunshine, and we are so happy to have her here!
In slightly more hair-raising news, today marks 7 weeks until our Trek Team take on the Lakes 3000s Challenge, during which they’ll summit 4 of the Lake District’s highest peaks: Scafell Pike (3208ft), Scafell (3164ft), Helvellyn (3112ft) and Skiddaw (3054ft) in just 12 hours. This challenge is certainly not for the faint of heart and our team are putting their all into their training programme to ensure success on the day!
One Team Sunshine trekker who is rearing to go is Jason Prior, who has more than one reason for completing the challenge: "I always try to get involved with charity work whenever I can, but for this particular charity there are many reasons why I have decided to take on the Lakes 3000s challenge.
"I have a family member who works in a school that deals specifically with children living with disabilities and I also have friends who have relatives with disabilities. Being close to all of this, I see and hear about the daily struggles that they may face, and how much of a negative impact it can have on their daily lives. But on the flip side, I also hear about the improvements i.e. upgraded equipment, and how much of a positive impact that has too.
"This challenge also stood out to me as after lockdown, I think like many, I just wanted to get out and explore the outdoors! I have since started my journey to complete all the Wainwright’s in the Lake District.
"I’m currently on 66/214. Still a long way to go, but I’m loving it. So the Lake District has a big place in my heart and has helped me both physically and mentally. The Lakes 3000 challenge will be a tough one but I’m ready for it! It’s amazing work that the Sunshine Fund do, and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it".
Now, whilst some of our Lakes 3000s Trek Team are experienced trekkers, like Jason, this challenge is a brand-new experience for others! Whilst looking back on my first Team Sunshine trek experience, I took a trip down memory lane to last year’s trek challenge, The Yorkshire 3 Peaks!
It was an early start for the trekkers as we set off from Newcastle’s Central Station at 4am, but with a Greggs in hand (you’ve gotta love Newcastle!) and the excitement of the challenge ahead brewing, we were off! We arrived in Yorkshire just after 6am and after a quick snack restock, we headed out to meet the wonderful Michael and Carl from Adventure Northumberland, who would be guiding us over the mountains.
We began the ascent up the first peak and our first group of trekkers had reached the 694m high summit by 8:15am (not without the boost of a brownie or two along the way). The next section of our trek was the longest, stretching about 13km and taking around 3 hours to complete.
The second peak of the challenge takes a little longer than the first but has a much more gradual ascent. The views along the route were spectacular, with the beautiful Force Gill Waterfall marking the halfway point of the challenge.
We managed to grab a quick snack at the summit, before heading back down the other side of the mountain. Trekkers were met with a steep, uneven climb down the mountain, which is not particularly pleasant on the knees! Nevertheless, we persevered and reached the second checkpoint just before 3pm.
After a short rest, we mustered up the energy to head for the third and final peak. This was the steepest and toughest mountain of the three, but Team Sunshine was not to be deterred. With the ending so close in sight and a team morale that could have been felt halfway across the Dales, we pushed full-steam ahead and reached the summit in just 75 minutes!
I’m not sure I could quite describe the feeling when we reached the top of the mountain, but it certainly was special. The sense of achievement we felt as a group was overwhelming and only made sweeter by the knowledge that our efforts had contributed to changing the lives of children living with disabilities and terminal illnesses across the North East.
I hope that this years' experience will be just as special, and I can’t wait to update you all on how we get on!