Intrepid staff from Swindon’s Brunel Shopping Centre are lacing up their walking boots ready to tackle a gruelling mountain challenge to raise money for a local charity.
The team members, or The Brunel Breconeers as they have named themselves, work at various shops within The Brunel Shopping Centre in Swindon Town Centre and have decided to challenge themselves to walk all 10 peaks of the Brecon Beacons in 10 hours, a total distance of 34km and 1695m of ascent.
Their mammoth efforts, which take place on Saturday 10th June, are in a bid to raise funds for local charity The Youth Adventure Trust.
Sarah Large, Store Manager of Holland & Barrett, is one of the team. Sarah explained her motivation for taking on the challenge, “I have always wanted to climb a proper mountain so when I heard about this I thought it would be great to get involved, especially as it’s for such a good cause. The Youth Adventure Trust does such brilliant work with local youngsters. It’s certainly a charity that I’m very happy to promote and support.”
The Youth Adventure Trust works with vulnerable young people from Swindon & Wiltshire and uses outdoor adventures to inspire youngsters. The trust believes that all vulnerable young people should have access to personal development opportunities so that they can fulfil their potential in the future. Established 25 years ago their founding patron is local explorer David Hempleman-Adams.
The team have been training for the challenge over the last few weeks. Gemma Doyle, whose day job is Retail Liaison officer for The Brunel Centre Management Team, has the unenviable task of being chief navigator. Being a novice map-reader and navigator Gemma recently undertook a navigation skills training course and a recce of the area. “It turns out that it’s going to be much more of a challenge than we first realised” said Gemma. “Some of the terrain is very difficult underfoot and to reach some of the peaks we are going to have to walk routes that are not on the normal tourist trails. We’ll be dealing with changing weather and the altitude means we may often be walking in mist. The final peak is up an extremely steep slope so all in all it’s going to be quite gruelling for us!”
Other members of the team taking part are Dick Force-Jones from That’s Entertainment and Ross Mulholland from Something Different, both shops in The Brunel Centre. The group are being supported by Deputy Centre Manager Jane Stewart who has volunteered to drive the team and to make sure they are fed and watered throughout the challenge.
The team have been training hard but getting the team together all at once has proved very difficult as Gemma explained: “Because we all work in retail, and with shops being open seven days a week, it means that we all work different days. It’s been a challenge getting us all together at once, so most of our training has had to take place individually, which makes it even harder.”
To sponsor The Brunel Breconeers go to: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/BrunelBreconeers
The Brunel Centre work closely to support local charities and good causes and for 2016/2017 has adopted The Youth Adventure Trust as their charity for the year. www.youthadventuretrust.org.uk