An intrepid group of Burnley locals are undertaking the imposing National Three Peaks Challenge, which involves climbing the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales, to raise money for The Holly Grove Special School.
Nick Barrett, 44, has worked at the school in northern Burnley for 23 years, and will be joined by Steve Meager - whose daughter Grace attends the school – as well as Luke Garnett and James Slattery – whose wives also work at the school.
On September 3rd, the quartet will quite literally scale the highest heights in the name of The Georgia Fourie Butterfly Fund, Holly Grove’s fund-raising charity.
The National Three Peaks Challenge is a notoriously arduous undertaking, encompassing Scafell Pike (978m) in the Lake District, Ben Nevis (1,344m) in the Scottish Highlands and Snowdon (1,085m) in Snowdonia National Park.
Not for the faint hearted, the combined climb comes to a total of 3,407m - the equivalent of eleven Eiffel Towers and some 500m higher than Mount Olympus in Greece.
“From the minute we start in Scotland, the clock starts and the idea is to have finished the last one inside 24 hours,” said Nick, of Belvedere Road.
“I think we’ll probably enjoy the first one, and it’ll go downhill [no pun intended] from there!”
The Georgia Fourie Butterfly Fund was established to honour Georgia, a ‘very special’ Holly Grove pupil who sadly passed away in 2009.
The school itself is the only primary school in Burnley catering for the special needs of children with generic learning difficulties and has been achieved ‘outstanding’ in all areas with Ofsted, as well as being named Primary School of the Year at the East Lancashire Education Awards.
“I’ve seen the school and the charity grow; it has been my life for the last 23 years,” said Nick, Holly Grove’s Family Support Manager.
“When Georgia passed away, her parents wanted to do something to remind them of Georgia’s time at the school; especially in times of austerity as we are in now, to get the children out and about like we used to, we need the charity funding.”
As well as raising money for continued support for the pupils at Holly Grove, through the’Helping-Hand Grant’, the Georgia Fourie Butterfly Fund also provides financial assistance for families who require high-cost items for their homes.
“The one thing about Holly Grove is the family atmosphere, we’re all very close and that’s where the challenge came about,” said Nick. “We were at the Chinese for a member of staff’s birthday, and after a few drinks we came up with this challenge and it’s spiraled from there!
“Every week since we’ve been doing something; a couple of weeks ago we did the Yorkshire Three Peaks as a training session.
“We tend to try and get up Pendle at least once a week to help with the training.
“Personally, I ran the London Marathon four years ago as a treat for my 40th birthday, so I’ve done quite a bit of running, but regarding walking, I don’t think any of us have done anything like the challenge ahead.”
• To support Nick, Steve, Luke and James, you can donate to the Georgia Fourie Butterfly Fund at https://www.goldengiving.com/secure/donation/the-georgia-fourie-butterfly-fund