Peak performance: ABC and the Three Peaks Challenge
Team ABC has scaled the Three Peaks Challenge in support of the charity The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice. The managed services company, which announced the event earlier in the year, has so far raised over £5,000 and counting.
“It was a tough but exhilarating experience,” said ABC managing director, Steve Burgess. Steve led the charitable expedition up and down Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon with colleagues including Edward Hopkinson, David Johnson, Iain Dunne, Chris Foxley, Ian Baldwin and Chris Bateman. On the last leg of the journey up and down Snowdon, the crew would be joined by family and friends.
“The team did a fantastic job,” said Steve, adding: “You can still contribute to help Donna Louise in the invaluable work it does to help children and young adults with life-limiting conditions, and their families.”
ABC, with head offices in Congleton, has long been a big benefactor of charities across Staffordshire, Cheshire and the wider UK. Each year, the company sets a mountainous challenge to raise money for charity. This time around, Steve suggested trying the Three Peaks Challenge in support of the incredible work done by The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice.
“The response from the team was overwhelming and, with our managed services caps on, we quickly went into a planning and logistics phase ahead of the challenge,” he recalled. “One doesn’t simply gather a team together then pop off for a quick 23 mile walk, uphill for a total of 10,052 feet. It takes a lot of training, hard-work and planning. So, alongside this, we also embarked on months of physical training.”
Now ABC has successfully scaled the highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales, let’s recap the rocky adventure.
Three Peaks Challenge 1: Ben Nevis
The team assembled at ABC HQ in Congleton, arriving at Ben Nevis base camp around 5pm. “We were determined to scale Scotland tallest peak and get safely back down before nightfall,” said sales director, David Johnson.
“A climb of 10,000 feet starts with a single step so it was important that we put our best foot forward.” As in business, the best laid plans can go awry and David revealed how “almost immediately into the climb one unfortunate colleague slipped and twisted an ankle.”
“That was not the start we’d planned. But, the secret of great teamwork is mutual support in times of need. It’s something the team excels at in the office and quickly applied to the climb.”
Despite the setback, the team’s spirits remained high and the climb commenced.
Ben Nevis proved to be the testing ground for the rest of the trip. Some team-members had been so enthusiastic, they had shot off at a pace. By the time they were half way up, the realisation that they had two more great peaks ahead of them set in. “So we slowed things down to a steadier pace with the bigger picture in mind,” added David.
Five and a half hours and one conquered summit later, the team returned – tired but elated.
Three Peaks Challenge 2: Scafell Pike
Taking a well-earned rest on the coach, the team drove through the night to England’s tallest peak: Scafell Pike. The business logistics planning had factored in that, as well as the 23 miles climb, there would be the small matter of the 462 miles drive between the peaks.
“The second ascent began at first light,” said Steve, underscoring that it was “less than six hours after completing the Ben Nevis climb”.
“Scafell Pike presented us with thick fog. The conditions were so harsh we were climbing with sticks but, once the fog cleared, the view was spectacular.”
In scenes reminiscent of something out of the Lord of the Rings, the team battled the tough conditions, completing the second climb on schedule. After five gruelling hours, they climbed back into the coach and headed off to Wales. Next stop: Snowdon.
Three Peaks Challenge 3: Snowdon
“Everything was going well,” recounts account director, Edward Hopkinson. “Then, our sales director injured his knee. This certainly added to the complexity of the final climb but we were all determined to finish as we started, together as a team.”
The ABC team was buoyed on the final peak by the arrival of a group of friends, family members and Steve’s dog, Pebbles. “That was the push we needed to power through and finish,” said Edward.
Back at the coach, many of the team were too tired to celebrate, but as they succumbed to sleep, needless to say they had accomplished something incredible.
In a Monday morning debrief, the team discussed how the adventure had thrown up business lessons from planning, logistics, legal requirements to maintaining health and safety standards. But, even the best laid plan can require some real-time improvisation as the team found out.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” rallied Steve, speaking from the more comfortable surroundings of the office. “Best of all, we’re continuing to raise a notable amount of money for The Donna Louise Charity.”
“A great team is made up of planners and improvisers, leaders and people who are willing to step up and take ownership when the situation demands. And, when you’re climbing a mountain – everyone has to step up and we did just that.”
Thus far ABC has raised over a whopping £5K and counting. The company is still collecting. Donna Louise is a fantastic cause, so visit the Just Giving page to help them continue to do their amazing work.
More about Donna Louise
Since being established in 1999, The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice provides respite care and so much more, to children and young adults living with life-limiting conditions, as well as to their families.
ABC Managing Director, Steve Burgess said: “I feel very privileged to be involved in raising much needed funding and highlighting the amazing work Donna Louise does”.
“Donna Louise adds light at the darkest hour to our children, young people and families in need. They truly care about making a difference.”– Steve Burgess, ABC MD
The Donna Louise team recognise that caring for a child or young adult with complex needs is an uphill struggle for any family, so they offer all-important respite breaks, allowing families to recharge their batteries while their loved ones are happy and safe.
Indeed, those young people who stay at The Donna Louise’s custom-built facility say it’s like “being on holiday”.
How do you get a bigger challenge than Britain’s three biggest peaks? ABC is already looking for a challenge for next year. What do you suggest?