Walk on the wild side for retired headteacher

There’s a countryman’s quiet wisdom to living on the edge of Lake District. It's this: you don’t have that far to drive to start the National Three Peaks Challenge. 

“We’ve got the best views in the world, and we don’t have too far to travel if we want a change of equally glorious scenery in the Yorkshire Dale”, said Adrian Francis who tore himself away from his home near Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, to climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon to raise money for the ME Association. 

A retired headteacher who now works as a schools improvement consultant, the 62-year-old was spurred to tackle the challenge after witnessing “the immense struggle” his daughter, Abi, has had to endure since being diagnosed with M.E. a year ago. 

“The small amount of physical pain that I suffered for those few hours of the walk was nothing compared with what she has had to go through”, he said. 

Throughout her illness, Abi (21) has managed to continue with and now complete her second year at uni. What did stick in the craw, though, was the university’s failure to make allowances for the fact that she couldn’t get out of bed to attend lectures. They failed a module because of this, which Abi has had to retake. 

On the Three Peaks Challenge, Adrian was accompanied by Peter Robinson, a friend from teacher-training college days.  Their wives, Linda and Liz, drove the back-up car and made sure they didn't go hungry.

What Adrian and Peter gained in not having too far to make it to the start at Ben Nevis, they clung onto – finishing the challenge well within the 24-hour limit. The middle bit, a five-and-a-quarter hour scramble up and down Scafell Pike in the middle of the night, was conquered by torchlight. 

“Good luck with raising funds for the valuable work the Association does. I’ll be doing another challenge next year… not sure what yet but it will be bigger and better”, added Adrian. 

There’s a lovely pot of gold on his JustGiving page – which so far has raised £2,147.44 . If you would like to add to it, please visit the link below.


 For people with ME/CFS who are thinking about taking on a physical fundraising challenge, or if you are organising an event that might involve people with ME/CFS, please read this notice from Neil Riley, Chairman of the ME Association.

Tony Britton
Senior Fundraising Consultant, The ME Association
tony.britton@meassociation.org.uk Mob: 07393 805566

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