A Darlington-based events company have raised over £7,000.00 for patients and staff in County Durham and Darlington. John Beamson and Tom Cockerill, directors of Evolution Tribe, planned a series of tough challenges in the Lake District with participants aiming to complete them all on the same day. The inaugural ‘Lakes Monster Challenge’ took place at the weekend, in weather conditions that made it even tougher.

John explains, “Both Tom and I are from Darlington and wanted to raise money for a local charity – supporting our NHS seemed an obvious choice as so many of us benefit from their care and compassion. We chose the Charity at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust before Covid-19 and supporting our local Trust, whose staff have been on the front line, seems even more appropriate now.

“Initially, we considered the Three Peaks Challenge or a trek along the length of Hadrian’s Wall, both of which are very difficult to achieve but, in the end decided to create something original.

Tom adds, “We came up with the idea of the ‘Lakes Monster Challenge’ because it’s both physically and mentally demanding with the added time pressure of aiming to start and finish on the same day. We were delighted that 12 people signed up for it.”

Starting at 6.30am on Saturday 22 August, the challenge began with a climb up Blencathra in the north lakes, followed by a walk across the narrow ‘Sharp Edge’, which is at 2,848 feet. This was followed by a walk across Infinity Bridge at Honister, Via Ferrata, spanning a gorge at a height of around 2,000 feet. Tom and John added in some hill sprints and finished the challenge off with a far from easy ascent of Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain.

John says, “We’re delighted that everyone completed the challenge, though it took till 11.30pm. We completed it in some of the most savage weather conditions we have ever seen, however, all went to plan and the event was exceptional, so much so that we’re planning to run it every year.

Commenting, Philippa Parsons, charity support officer, said, “We’re enormously grateful to all those who took part and really impressed that they completed all the elements of this difficult challenge in a single day. So far they’ve raised over £7,000.00 and donations are still coming in. Anyone wishing to donate can do so at: https://www.justgiving.com/team/LAKESMONSTER.

“Our Charity raises money to enhance the experiences we give our patients and staff. Much of our fundraising traditionally takes place by holding or attending large scale events, which isn’t possible at the moment and, as we really don’t know when it may be possible again we’re trying to finding new ways to fundraise. We’re also more dependent than ever on individuals and businesses raising money for us – if you think you can help, we’d love to hear from you.”

To contact the Charity Team: Phone: 01325 743781. Email: Cddft.charity@nhs.net