Archive for Inspiration

Lorraine takes on RSPCA Everest challenge

After four years of fundraising for the RSPCA, the Everest Big Expawdition will be Lorraine’s biggest challenge yet.

Twelve years ago, when Lorraine Carey was suffering from a second prolapsed disc and had to undergo painful spinal surgery, the idea of trekking to Everest Base Camp would have seemed impossible.

The 47-year-old first suffered from a slipped disc 20 years ago and underwent spinal surgery. Then, 12 years ago she suffered from a second, severe prolapsed disc which left her bed bound and in agonising pain for six months. When she finally recovered, after two spinal surgeries, she had a renewed zest for life. Lorraine decided to spend a year taking on various physical challenges and fundraising for the RSPCA. Lorraine RSPCA Everest Base Camp challenge trek

Lorraine said: “At that point, I just wanted my life back. After I recovered and regained my confidence, I wanted to grab every opportunity and make the most out of life.”

One year turned into five, and after a series of runs and walks, a skydive, a 5k open water swim, the Yorkshire Three Peaks, the Lake District 10 Peaks, the Welsh 12 Peaks, Tough Mudder, half and full marathons and trekking Mount Kilimanjaro. Lorraine has now pledged to take on her final and most challenging trek to date.

Lorraine takes on Everest

She will be tackling ‘The Big Expawdition’ alongside RSPCA ambassadors, other supporters and staff in September this year. They will trek for 18-days to dizzying height of 17,600ft to reach Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

Lorraine, a personal trainer, animal lover and vegan, said: “It’s always been on my bucket list to do Everest. When I saw that the RSPCA were doing it as a group so I could do it, not just for the charity but with the charity, I knew I had to.

“It was supposed to be just one year of fundraising for the RSPCA, but I’m now in the fifth year, with Everest as the pinnacle of all my challenges.

“I may sound brave when I’m talking about these challenges, but not when it comes to my back. I couldn’t go through that ever again. Now I’m just glad that my health has improved. I’m ticking these challenges off my bucket list and doing it for a cause I believe in.”

Starting in the Nepalese town of Lukla, Lorraine and the team will trek higher and higher through the Himalayas, through forests, gorges, rivers and icefalls. The high altitude of Everest Base Camp is likely to have a huge effect on the trekkers. Coupled with sub-zero temperatures the challenge, this will be extremely tough.

Why Lorraine raises money for RSPCA

Lorraine has raised more than £15,000 to help the RSPCA continue its work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care.
“I’ve been a lifelong animal lover. I’ve been vegetarian for 30 years and vegan for 11 years. I have had rescue dogs, cats and chickens, and I often campaign on animal welfare issues.”

Lorraine, who lives in Winteringham in Lincolnshire, explained. “Not only does the RSPCA rescue animals, they also carry out cruelty investigations and work tirelessly to change the laws for animal welfare, for example with animal testing. They are not just reacting to the day to day calls, but they are also proactive behind the scenes. I think the public don’t always see that side of them, but it’s just as important.

“I get really emotional when I see images of cruelty crop up in news stories or on social media, and without the RSPCA the situation would be much worse.

“What first made me decide to support the RSPCA was when there was a tidal surge in my village in Lincolnshire in 2013. There were three horses trapped in freezing cold water and the RSPCA came out with a boat to rescue them. It just made me realise not only how much work goes into these rescues but how much it must cost as well. My fundraising is a way for me to support the work of the RSPCA.”

 Lorraine RSPCA Everest Base Camp challenge trek

Lorraine’s preparations

To try and raise as much money as possible for her challenge, she will take groups up Whernside, one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks. She has also received wonderful donations from Winteringham Fields a Michelin star restaurant, as well as lots of other goodies to auction off for the charity.

Lorraine has been a personal trainer for eight years. Her experience climbing Mount Kilimanjaro stands her in good stead, but she is still prepared for this to be a huge challenge.

“I’m also running London Marathon for the RSPCA this year. It’s just about keeping the fitness up, breaking in my boots and making sure I have all the equipment I need. The only thing I can’t prepare for is the altitude. I know from my Kilimanjaro trip that although it was tough I was okay with it. I didn’t have to stop.” She explained.

Lorraine’s advice to anyone thinking of participating on this challenge is that you’ll never regret doing it, but you may regret not doing it.

“It’s an amazing life experience.” She said. “And it makes it a million times better if you believe in something because you will have dark moments. It’s 18 days living out of a rucksack, you’re out of your comfort zone and away from family and friends. I’m sure there will be points where I want to go home but remembering why I’m doing this is really important.”

Lorraine has two rescue dogs, Bella, a black labrador, and Rua, a red setter collie cross. Lorraine’s also the proud owner of 12 hens, rescued from a battery farm. In 2014, she also received an RSPCA Honour, the Arthur Broome Bronze award in recognition of her contribution to animal welfare.

Find out how you can join Lorraine on the RSPCA Big Expawdition.

Twelve Fundraising Tips For Christmas

Christmas is a time of year for giving. Since you’ve been nice this year, we’re giving you a list 12 fundraising tips for Christmas.

Get ready to have fun and be inspired with these ideas to help you raise even more sponsorship money for your forthcoming expedition!

1. Bauble decorating competition
Have fun, get crafty and host a bauble-decorating competition! Think of a prize to offer the winner and have fun with the glitter and glue!

hand painted christmas baubles craft

2. (Pin the nose on) Rudolph the red nosed reindeer…
Simple but fun and effective! Instead of ‘pin the nose on the donkey’, you can pin the red nose on the reindeer (or the carrot on the snowman)! Blindfold your colleague or party friends, charge them £1 to enter, and give a prize to whoever gets the nose the closest.

3. Last hour’s pay
As a gesture of generosity, ask your colleagues or friends to donate their last hour of pay for 2018. It’s simple and straightforward, which many will appreciate during a busy and hectic holiday season.

4. Host a gift wrapping party
There are many people who enjoy wrapping presents – but there are also many people who would pay someone to do it for them, especially for a good cause! Offer your wrapping skills in return for a donation.

Christmas presents, merry Christmas tag

5. Christmas Cookies Bake Off
Bake some melting snowmen or reindeer cupcakes and hold a bake sale to raise some money for your fundraising target. Or host a festive Bake Off in your office or local village hall, charge £10 entry with the winner getting a 50/50 split of the entry fees.

6. Karaoke carols
Who doesn’t love blasting out some classic winter hits? Whether you’re Dreaming of a White Christmas or wanting to channel your inner-Slade, host a festive Karaoke night and have a good sing-a-long!

7. Letters from Santa
Christmas is a special time of year for everyone, but especially for young children. Help your friends with children make this a memorable Christmas by offering to ‘impersonate’ Santa. In return for a donation (we suggest £10), you can send a personalised letter to their child. The look on the child’s face when they receive it will be priceless.

santa writing naughty and nice list

8. Festive fivers
Ask everyone to write their name on a five pound note. Pop them all in a hat (preferably a Santa one) and pick out a winner! You can then split the pot 50/50 between the lucky winner and the rest goes towards your fundraising target.

9. Festive movie-thon
Grab some popcorn, get comfortable and organise back-to-back viewings of some of your favourite Christmas movies. If you don’t want your aunt’s neighbour’s children all piling in to your living room, host the event in a community hall and borrow a projector for the day.

10. Golden cracker
Buy some crackers and insert a ‘golden ticket’ in to one. Charge £2 per cracker, and the lucky winner of the ticket wins a prize!

11. Festive Fancy Dress
Whether it’s a dress down day at work, or a pub crawl around your local town, charge £3 for each person who turns up in a festive outfit (and double it for those who don’t)!

dog in Christmas scarf for fundraising tips

(Even good boys get charged when dressed for Christmas)

12. New Years Eve cocktail night
Mulled wine, sparkling fizz… need we say more? Dress to impress and encourage your friends to family to contribute towards your fundraising target.

If you haven’t yet booked your challenge, but are ready to put these ideas into practice, check out Charity Challenge for more details on the incredible challenges available.

7 Inspiring Mountain Quotes

Everyone loves a good inspirational quote on top of a nice photo, so to inspire you to get your walking boots out of the cupboard and head out to bag a mountain peak, here are our top inspiring quotes about mountains!


John Muir


Muhammad Ali


Theodore Roethke


Barry Finlay


David McCullough


Dr Seuss


Edmund Hillary

Which is your favourite? Feel free to share with a friend you’d like to bag a peak with.

choose your challenge

6 Oscar-winning fundraising ideas

HollywoodIf you’re fundraising for a forthcoming expedition, have you thought about hosting your own Academy Awards Fundraising Party to help you reach your sponsorship target? We’ve put together a list of ideas to help you win your very own ‘nomination’ for Best Fundraiser of the Year…

Forget about the after parties in Hollywood, YOUR party is where it’s at! Invite your friends over for an all night Oscar’s party. Set the theme (black tie event, dress as your favourite movie character etc), pop open some bubbly, dish out some popcorn and charge your friends an entrance fee to attend.

Play some of your favourite games – with a movie twist! Do a film-themed game of charades, set up a Hollywood Pictionary tournament in the office or hula-hoop for the entire duration of the longest acceptance speech…

Swap a dress down day at work for a dress up one! Ask your colleagues to come to the office in their best attire – the glitzier the better. Perhaps someone is bold enough to wear a gold spandex morph suit and come dressed as the Oscar statue?

How many awards will La La Land win? How many minutes will the longest speech be? Set up a variety of sweepstakes and encourage all your friends to get involved.

Do you know your Spielberg from your Scorsese? If you’re a movie buff, create your own film-related quiz. There could be a picture round, an Oscars round, a Disney round etc – you could have endless fun with writing your own film trivia questions!

Set up your own awards ceremony and create some categories. Ask your friends to nominate, and shortlist the nominees! You can even create some awards that are relevant to your challenge. Who’s been your Best Cheerleader in a Supporting Role in your challenge journey? Who would you nominate for Outstanding Contribution to trekking/cycling?

This weekend, ladies and gentleman, our award for Best Participant goes to all of YOU for your dedication and enthusiasm to your challenge. Best of luck with your fundraising, and enjoy the razzle dazzle of the awards…

Oliver Proudlock swaps Chelsea for Peru…

Fashion designer and Made In Chelsea star, Oliver Proudlock, is currently in Peru and about to trek to Machu Picchu in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Oliver Proudlock, and his girlfriend, model Emma Louise-Connolly, will trek at altitude for five days, following the ancient paths of the Incas, climbing beautiful mountains and experiencing the remote villages and breathtaking scenery before reaching the world-famous Machu Picchu.

Oliver Proudlock & Emma Louise Connolly

Oliver will be joining the fight for every heartbeat once again in honour of his family, who have been plagued by cardiovascular disease. His grandmother died from a ruptured aorta, his uncle has had heart bypass surgery, and his dad was diagnosed with a weak heart muscle in 2006.

Oliver said: “I am incredibly excited about the BHF’s Machu Picchu trek – I’ve never been to this part of the world and Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful sights. And knowing that for every mile we walk, we’ll be helping fund the BHF’s life saving research, is an absolute privilege.

“The BHF is such an important cause to me as there is a long history of cardiovascular disease in my family. My dad and uncle are just two out of seven million people living with these conditions in the UK today, which is why the BHF’s research is so important. I would urge anyone to sign up to support the BHF by taking on this incredible trek or one of the BHF’s other overseas challenges.”

Oliver and the BHF trekking team in Peru

Krystyna Grant, Events Lead at the BHF, added: “We are delighted that Oliver and Emma have chosen to become Heart Trekkers and take on the trip of a lifetime in aid of the BHF. They will be helping us to make real strides in our research.”

Oliver and Emma are hoping to raise an incredible £4,000 for our life saving research. To donate, visit their JustGiving page.

Icelandic Lava Trek by Tweets

Last month, more than fifty ‘Fabulous Challengers’ headed to Iceland to take part in the Iceland Lava Trek for CoppaFeel! Kate Lewers was one of the participants on this amazing challenge, and she has tweeted her journey.

The traditional group photo before the flight

That’s some sky, and the weather is looking good!

A first glimpse of the incredible Icelandic landscape, which is diverse throughout the trek

Maybe we should get all participants to wear these… it’d make you easier to spot!

A sparkly trekker is a happy trekker!

There are a few river crossings along the trek

We have to agree!

A sense of humour is definitely key on a charity challenge!

Looks a lot easier than a river crossing!

Nearly there!

Well done Kate! And everyone else who took part on the CoppaFeel! Iceland Lava Trek 2016.

A well deserved dip we think!

Feeling inspired? You could tackle the Iceland Lava Trek yourself! Click here to take a look at our website for more details.

Fabulous Icelandic Lava Trek for CoppaFeel!

Charity Challenge teamed up with Fabulous and CoppaFeel! for the Iceland Lava Trek in August 2016. More than 50 brave participants took to the volcanic landscape of Iceland to trek nearly 60km through the ever changing scenery. With lush green hills, snow-capped peaks, steaming lava fields and ice-cold river crossings, it really was a diverse and challenging trek.

Fancy taking part yourself? Take a look at upcoming dates for our Icelandic Lava Trek, or perhaps our brand new Iceland Glacier Trek!

Your Story: Jon Williams on the Mind Hike 2016

Back in July we worked with Mind to organise the Mind Hike 2016 – Offa’s Dyke Challenge. Here is participant Jon William’s account of the 24 hour challenge on the English/Welsh border!

A month after the event, and the memories of Mind Hike 2016 are still with me and bringing a smile to my face. During the course of the hike I met some absolutely fantastic people and despite heading into the hike with some hesitancy, I can honestly say I had a great time. Most importantly of all though, we all did a great job of raising money and awareness for such a key cause. I signed up to the Mind Hike 2016 in the December of 2015, after coming across the advert via the Mind Facebook page. I had previously completed RideLondon for Mind and was looking for something a bit different. It was with rose-tinted memories of Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and the fun of trekking that I decided a 24-hour trek sounded like just the ticket and so had no hesitation in signing up.

Offa's Dyke Mind Hike

The hike came with the added bonus that is was an event exclusively for and organised by Mind. I have long supported Mind and try to get as involved as I can. For me this is a very personal cause as I myself am in a long battle with depression and its ally, anxiety. In the course of my first degree these two took me to some very dark places and the work and support of Mind and other similar organisations meant that no matter how bad it got, I was never alone in the darkness. This is why I think the work of Mind is so, so key to progress in mental health. Until we can say that truly no one has to face a mental health issue alone we need organisations like Mind in our corner reminding us that no matter how bad it gets, it can always get better.

So I committed to the hike in December and very quickly received all sorts of fundraising tips and materials from the fantastic team at Mind. I’m sure if you ask anyone from our hike they can all tell you about how amazing Emily and Alexa (our Mind Hike 2016 event team) were, with so many supportive emails and updates (and even care packages!) coming our way in the months before the hike. There was always a friendly face at the other end of any emails or calls in the build up to the event and I really can’t speak highly enough of those two.

Offa's Dyke Mind Hike

As the hike came grew near we were given two teams, to walk from opposite ends of an 80-mile stretch of Offa’s Dyke on the English-Welsh border to meet in the middle after 24-hours of walking, Team Lion and Team Dragon. I was part of team dragon who were to walk from the North downwards, taking in a slightly hillier route. We all began to introduce ourselves via a Facebook group set up by Emily and Alexa and already there was so much support and community between us all. Helpful tips were shared, and supportive messages were sent to trekkers when they found things a bit tougher going.

Before I knew it, the weekend of the hike was upon me. Suddenly the reality of it was upon me. I was going to have to walk 40-miles in 24-hours with a group of 20 people I had never met (there had been a training day organised by Emily and Alexa, but I unfortunately hadn’t been able to attend). On the train journey there I was admittedly nervous, but part way on the journey I met Emily and Alexa and Maria (another Mind team member) and they were so lovely and welcoming and we got chatting and before I knew it the journey was over; nerves were a distant memory.

We met on the Friday at the hotel we’d have for two nights (with only one of them being spent actually in the bed) and got a chance to meet all of our teams. I have to say my nerves were completely unjustified. Everyone was so lovely and even the hotel staff were getting into the atmosphere of camaraderie. Some of us even grabbed a beer or two as we watched the Wales-Belgium quarter final of the Euros. There was an air of excitement and we couldn’t wait to get started.

Unfortunately, that didn’t quite translate to as much enthusiasm with the 6am alarm clocks the next morning. Breakfast was lovely and once we got coffee and food into our systems people started to perk up. The two teams assembled for a quick photo before parting ways and heading to our starts points for our 8am set-offs. The journey over was a chance to do some more meeting of team members and the mood just got better and better.

Start of the hike

As for the hike itself, it wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. It’s fair to say that with a 24-hour hike there are many parts that are exactly as you might expect. There’s the highs of the amazing views and summits conquered, and the lows of being caught in a torrential downpour and the realisation at about midnight that this is far from over. But the thing that really comes out of it all is the feeling of being a team. Through all of the swings of the hike, there was a real feeling of being in it together and there would always be someone that would help out when emotions were running high. I can honestly say that I met some lovely people and that’s what will stick with me for many years to come. It sounds like a cliché, but the conversations you have at 3am on a Welsh hillside really do bring people together. I think our team left knowing more about each other than many of our friends. Unfortunately owing to an early sudden downpour, our team ended up having to split into two smaller groups for safety. However, through some cunning route alteration by the mountain leaders we were able to merge up again on the walk into the finish and so we reached the line in the same manner as we completed the hike, as one.

Happy hikers

For me, the hike was a brilliant experience, my personal highlight being the amazing views we got when crossing a welsh valley by walking across an aqueduct! To anyone thinking about signing up for Mind Hike 2017 I would say absolutely go for it. It’s an amazing experience and you will get to meet some amazing people whilst making a real difference to a crucial cause. I wouldn’t worry too much about it sounding daunting. The Mind team are so supportive, and unlike a marathon this event is more about determination and teamwork than it is about competition and being fit. A bit of practice for longer walks should be enough and the way we approached the walk was about making sure as many people as possible could enjoy the walk as much as possible. This was really helped by the girls at Mind (who even did part of the hike with us, or in Emily’s case the whole thing) who did everything they could to support us, and the mountain leaders who were an endless source of stories, smiles and most importantly food (they even had a doctor on hand to deal with any blister emergencies). All in all, it was a fantastic experience and a great way to raise money for such a crucial cause.

Offa's Dyke Mind Hike Group

Inspired? You can sign up to the Mind Hike 2017, a 24 hour trekking challenge through he beautiful Lake District! See our website to find out more.

Why I’m cycling 362 miles for Barnardo’s

Holyhead to Barnardo’s Village Bike Ride

Martin Duffy will be taking part in The Big Barnardo’s Holyhead to Barnardo’s Village Bike Ride this October and raising over £2,150. He tells us a bit more about why he chose this challenge.

You’ve pledged to take part in the Big Barnardo’s Bike Ride for their 150th anniversary. Tell us more!

Ok, well after a bit of stalling, I’ve picked a fundraising challenge – and now I know there is no backing out! I will be cycling 362 miles from Holyhead to Barkingside this autumn, following the route that Thomas Barnardo took when he arrived in the UK in 1866.

Why have you chosen to raise money for Barnardo’s?

As Head of Fulfilment Operations at Barnardo’s, I have seen first-hand the difference that our services can make to children across the UK. Barnardo’s has been transforming children’s lives for 150 years, and I’m determined to ensure that continues. Last year alone, Barnardo’s worked with 240,000 children, young people and families including offering counselling, fostering and adoption services, and disability support. I feel very privileged to be able to take part in this unique challenge event.

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?

Seeing the finish line at this stage of my training! I think that it is also the opportunity to take part in an event with like-minded individuals.

If you would like to sponsor Martin you can do so on his Justgiving page.

Feeling inspired yourself? Join Martin on what will be an historic bike ride – find out more.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough…

This time last year, over 20 ambitious fundraisers trekked the Welsh 3000s for Mind, the mental health charity. Captained by TV Presenter, Matt Johnson, and with actor Nicholas Pinnock (most recently in ITV drama, Marcella), 28-year-old support worker Ceri Parker took on the 24 hour endurance challenge, and shares his story…

Ceri, with fellow trekker, Nicholas Pinnock in Snowdonia

Ceri, with fellow trekker, Nicholas Pinnock in Snowdonia

Why did you sign up to the challenge, Ceri?

I signed up to the challenge in memory of my cousin, who committed suicide in 2014. The anniversary was the week after the challenge, so it felt poignant.

Who did you raise money for?

I raised money for MIND because I wanted to save lives of people who felt there was no future due to their mental health, like my cousin felt.

Had you ever taken part in a challenge event like this before?

I’ve done a few 10k runs, and am generally fit, but nothing as big as the 3000s challenge! It’s definitely the biggest physical challenge I have ever undertaken.

How did you go about training for the event?

I joined a local walking group and did some long walks once a week, and continued to play sports on the weekend. Plus lots of gym sessions to get my legs used to those mountains!

How did you fundraise for the challenge?

I created a page on Facebook and encouraged all of my friends and family to like it. I would post updates about my training, and upcoming fundraising events. I also used it to give facts about mental health in men, and linked to articles in newspapers. I did some face-to-face collections at work, and the local football club – everyone was so generous with their donations.

What was your biggest highlight during the challenge?

I think the biggest highlight had to be finishing the trek after 24 hours, with a group of AMAZING people who all had smiles on their faces! Plus, raising over £70,000 for MIND was also a rather special highlight.

What advice would you give anyone who was thinking of taking on a similar challenge for charity?

The best advice I could give would just be: GO FOR IT! No challenge is too daunting, Charity Challenge were brilliant throughout so you’re in safe hands. And don’t forget to enjoy it – you’ve earned it!

Where is your dream challenge destination, and why?

I would love to do a cycling challenge next. Maybe across Europe or around the UK. Tour De France is an inspiring event where millions of people line the streets and cheer on the cyclists. Maybe taking part in a London to Paris event and finishing along the Champs Elysees would be pretty special…

If you are interested in following in Ceri’s footsteps and would like to take part in a challenge for Mind, there are still places left on their Kilimanjaro Summit Climb (7-18th October 2016). Visit the event page to find out more…