essex technology company hits new heights for havens hospices

12 July 2018

On Friday 15th June, sixteen colleagues started their attempt of the National Three Peaks challenge to raise money for Havens Hospices, raising £13,000 so far.

Staff at Utilize Plc, Romford, Essex and Central London organised the challenge to raise funds for Havens Hospices; the charity which cares for children, young people and adults with life-limiting illnesses across Essex in the home, in the community and at their two hospices.  

The technology solutions provider recently named Havens Hospices as their Charity Partner for the next three years and has already sponsored kit and raffle prizes for the charity’s events, volunteered as a team at Little Havens and held dress-down days to raise funds.

Group Managing Director and mountaineering enthusiast, Guy Hocking suggested fundraising by doing the National Three Peaks, a 24-hour challenge that sees climbers take on the UK’s biggest mountains – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon.

He explained,

“I did the Three Peaks about seven years ago and really enjoyed it; it was one of the most fulfilling challenges I’ve completed and thought it would be perfect for us to take on as a team for such an amazing charity.”

Sixteen members of staff including Guy signed up to the challenge and they started training together – this included climbs, fitness training and visiting Little Havens; so that the team could learn more about the charity they would be climbing for.

Guy explained,

“If the training climbs helped us face up to the physical challenge ahead, our visit to Little Havens left us in no doubt as to the importance of our cause. Havens Hospices are not part of the NHS and receive limited government funding; so really do rely on supporters to fundraise for them so that they can be there for everyone who needs them for as long as their needed.

“The importance of the care the Havens team give the local community spurred us on to not only complete our climb, but also smash our fundraising target of £10,000 – raising a phenomenal £3,000 extra. I want to say a big well done to all the team and thank you to them and everyone who has supported us and helped us raise money for this worthy cause.”

Many of the team not only had fundraising goals, but personal goals as well. Team members like 51 year old Darren Bartlett, who used the challenge as an incentive to lose weight and increase his fitness.

Darren explained,

“I’ve never been in to fitness and have certainly put on a few pounds over the years. However, I didn’t realise how unfit I was until our first training climb in April; I couldn’t complete because as we were climbing I injured myself and couldn’t continue!

“That training climb gave me the push that I needed and I became determined to complete the challenge so I embarked on a fitness program, bought a running machine and started to focus on getting into shape. Fast forward two months and two stone lighter, I arrived at Ben Nevis with the Utilize team. The whole challenge was a massive achievement for me, completing it in 23 hours and 34 minutes. I feel fitter than ever and I’m determined to keep the weight off and am looking forward to the next challenge!”

Ben Nevis was not kind to the climbers who threw all weathers at them, from rain, wind to hail and snow. Events Co-ordinator Tessa Chesney had to dig deep to complete the climbs after twisting her knee on the first climb.

She explained

“After visiting Little Havens and learning more about the specialist care Havens Hospices provides, free of charge, to seriously ill children, young adults and adults across Essex, I was determined to complete this challenge and help them carry on caring.

“On the journey from Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike, I realised that my left knee wasn’t feeling great but I was determined to finish and with a good time; so joined the fast group, but after getting half way up this relentlessly steep climb I felt like I couldn’t keep up. Firstly, because my knee was now really hurting and secondly, I was running out of steam; thank you to everyone on the team who kept me motivated and moving all the way to the top as the night rolled in!”

Having reached the top Tessa now had the hard task of limping back down the mountain in complete darkness as the batteries in her head torch ran out.

She said,

“By the time we got down I could hardly see in front of me and was in agony. I really didn’t think I was going to be able to complete the last mountain at this point.”

With only 2 hours to get to the top of Snowdon to complete the challenge, the odds were against Tessa.

“I managed to lose the team, so self-motivation had to kick in. I mustered up the last bit of strength to hobble to the summit with just 10 minutes to spare – completing the challenge in 23 hours 50 minutes! I burst into tears, I couldn’t believe I had managed it, but the whole climb I’d kept thinking about what a difference the money I was raising would make to the families they care for – a twisted knee was nothing compared to what those needing Havens Hospices are going through – I’d seen and heard about the difference the charity made to people’s lives so I had to keep going for them.”

Emma Hamilton, Challenge Events Fundraiser for Havens Hospices said,

“On behalf of everyone at Havens Hospices I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the Utilize Three Peaks Team - we have to raise over £100,000 every week to be able to care and support everyone we do across our hospice services; the £13,000 raised by Utilize will mean that we can continue fulfilling our promise of ‘Making every day count’ for those with life-limiting illnesses and their families.”

If you’ve been inspired by Utilize and want to take on a challenge to fundraise for Havens Hospices, please click here.

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