In early September Richard, Sam and Holly Branson, accompanied by Princess Beatrice and other founders of Big Change took on Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe to launch their startup charity.
Big Change Charitable Trust has been set up by a group of friends to help identify and support projects that improve the lives of young people in the UK. It works in partnership with charitable initiatives that inspire and encourage young people to be the very best that they can be.
To raise money and launch their charity, the Big Change team took to the mountains to scale Mont Blanc: The Big Climb.
The Branson trio were joined by fellow Big Change founders Isabella Calthorpe (Sam’s fiancée), Sam Richardson, Phil Nevin and Princess Beatrice.
The team have worked together before and Big Change really began when they completed the 2010 Virgin London Marathon (breaking a Guinness World Record in the process) tied together as a giant caterpillar.
However, the Big Climb represented a completely different challenge. Mont Blanc rises 4,810m above sea level and the team were warned that only half of them were likely to make the summit. The team used the Big Change mantras to help them on their way: courage, determination, friendship and ambition and in the end seven out of the eight climbers successfully summitted. Sam Richardson had been battling with altitude sickness all week and despite his brave efforts on summit day, didn’t make it to the top.
On reaching the top Princess Beatrice said: “The summit was like a dream. It was so overwhelming I began to cry with joy for making it to this magical world at the top of Europe.”
Unfortunately the way down wasn’t quite as much fun, as she explained: “I was tired and the altitude bought my feelings to the surface. I broke down in tears and truly didn’t know if I was going to get down.
“I have never felt such joy and excitement or such a sense of achievement.”
There is still time to sponsor the team.