Many different things can inspire a fundraiser to take on a challenge and, in some cases, change their lives. Sadly, fundraising challenges often start with a painful event when a friend or family member requires the help of a charity. This is the case of our Fundraiser Friday star, Alex Waddington.
Tomorrow, Alex Waddington will be hiking 56 miles through the Peak District, home to the Bullock Smithy Hike. He was inspired to take on the challenge after his dad died, very suddenly, of cancer in January of this year. He tells us “It was only weeks after my daughter had been born and, sadly, dad never got to meet Aggie. So it was a bad start to the year, but it provided some great motivation for me to do something good. “
And so, Alex decided to take on the Bullock Smithy Hike. A 56 mile trek through the dramatic Peak District which Alex says “takes in some of the finest parts of the Peaks, offers lots of dramatic climbs and descents, and features, among other things, some rather frisky cattle!“.
Alex will be fundraising for two charities, the first of which is Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity who work with those who have cancer, the families of cancer sufferers, as well as health and social care professionals to improve the lives of the 1 in 3 people in the UK who will be diagnosed in their lifetime. He also decided to fundraise for the smaller charity, Strathcarron Hospice in Scotland, who say their aim “is to sustain, develop and deliver a full range of quality services – in-patient, day hospice, community, bereavement, pastoral care, lymphoedema, reasearch and education.” Alex set himself a £3,000 target for the charities which “both provided some great support and care during [his] Dad’s short illness.”
The challenge which Alex took on doesn’t just involve the hike itself, Alex has undertaken a 6 month training schedule to get himself in shape which he admits has been hard work, but something he has enjoyed and that has been successful in getting him fit. He has also faced challenges in the shape of leggings and cows. Alex tells us more;
“To help push my fundraising along in the early days, I offered to wear some garish “meggings” (men’s leggings) on my Monday morning training to the station run if we hit £1,000 by a certain date. My friends and colleagues responded magnificently and sure enough, one morning I ran five miles looking absolutely ridiculous – but with a huge smile on my face! They never got a second airing – they were so tight they ripped in some unfortunate places! As well as keeping my feet and body going across 56 miles of challenging terrain, and through the night, I will have to tackle my fear of cows. I have never trusted them but during my training I have been forced to go through some fields where in previous years the cows have been reported to have charged at walkers! My response has been to take a walking pole and follow advice, which is not to run but face them down and shout at them. It’s worked so far – I still don’t trust the things, but I am less worried about them now!”
So far, including gift aid, Alex has raised over £3,500. His warm-ups have included walking 42 miles across remote North Yorkshire moorland, through the night, as a warm up hike. “I finished in 15 hours and having been awake for 33 hours by the end, promptly laid down and fell asleep in the long grass for an hour.”
Alex concludes by telling us “After such a bad start to the year, things are set to end on a positive note.“
To support Alex in his fundraising challenge, visit his Virgin Money Giving page.