An intrepid team of staff from Epsom and St Helier hospitals will be taking on the three peaks challenge – a colossal bid to climb the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales – with the aim of raising money for the Critical Care Unit at St Helier Hospital.

Up to 30 hospital workers will be rising to the challenge of climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon in under 48 hours over the weekend of 19–21 August. Trained mountain leaders will also be accompanying the team, ensuring everyone has the best time possible, despite the huge distances to cover and regardless of what the Great British summer may have in store for them.

Physiotherapist Natalie Gardner, who has led on organising the fundraising event, explained: “Climbing three mountains in 48 hours will never be an easy thing to do, especially considering that they’re the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales. And as if that wasn’t enough, the only sleep we’ll have will be in the minibus between treks as we’re driven to our next destination – that’s why we’ve nicknamed the challenge ‘A Bit Peaky’!

three-peaks-team-2“But the fact that it’s for an incredible cause will keep us going– we’re supporting the campaign by the St Helier League of Friends to buy a £50,000 piece of equipment for our Critical Care Unit, where our sickest patients are cared for. The target we have set ourselves is quite ambitious, but we’re determined to raise as much money as we can. We’re looking forward to the challenge and are grateful for any support people can give.”

Michelle Corin, Speech and Language Therapist and member of the A Bit Peaky challenge team, explained just why the piece of equipment is so vital to the acutely unwell: “Raising £50,000 will allow us to purchase a new state-of-the-art machine that will mean we can assess a patient’s swallowing in greater detail at their beside.

“Like breathing, swallowing is essential to life. As a speech and language therapist, I assess and treat people who have swallowing difficulties (known as ‘dysphagia’). Many people experience dysphagia after a serious event such as a stroke or critical illness, as part of a progressive disease such as Parkinson’s or motor neurone disease, or simply as part of getting older. Dysphagia affects a person’s ability to safely swallow drinks, food, medication and even their own saliva. Dysphagia can be life threatening and often has a devastating impact on quality of life but despite this, it remains a ‘hidden’ disability.”

The challenge team will be picked up by coach at 6pm on Friday 19 August, outside the front of St Helier Hospital, before driving up to Scotland to trek Ben Nevis. The coach will then take the team to the Lake District where they will hike to the top of Scafell Pike. Finally, they’ll head south to Wales to complete the last stage of the challenge – the walk up Mount Snowdon – before returning to St Helier on the evening of Sunday 21 August.

Chief Executive, Daniel Elkeles, said: “I’d like to say thank you to everyone involved in the three peaks challenge, whether as a participant or as someone who has made a donation. The money raised will help make a real difference to our patients and the critical care team.

“The colleagues who have signed up to tackle the three peaks have set themselves quite the challenge – especially with how quickly the weather can change in the mountains – but I am behind them all the way!”

You can find out more about their challenge and donate by visiting www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/abitpeaky.