Team Essential Raise Over £7300 For St Luke’s Hospice

Essential  Cuisine

Essential Cuisine

Premium Supplier 12th June 2017

Team Essential Raise Over £7300 For St Luke’s Hospice

Saturday 10th June 2017; a date that will go down in the history of Essential Cuisine as the day 21 team members braved the elements to raise over £7300 for St. Luke’s Hospice in Winsford.
The team consisted of Sian Kelsall, Gary Kilminster, Jake Armitage, Heather Wilde, Wendy Turner, Neil Corlett, Ben Critchley, Robin Dudley, Ben Kaye, Karim Ghazanfar, Harry Ogle, Amanda Kirton, Sam Musgrave, Emma Harvey, Moe Kirton Bird, Darren Hounslea, Steve Martin, Jamie McGregor, Ben Forbes, Dave Metcalf and Rob Hamilton.

Nothing seemed to be on our side as we met in the carpark at 7am; the storm clouds were already building. With weather warnings in place for the Snowdon summit, the bus was soon filling up with waterproofs, hiking sticks, ponchos …….. and sloe gin!

The 2 hour journey was filled with anticipation, energy snacks and “bus banter”. In spite of the weather, spirits were high and although we could not even see Snowdon on arrival, we were pretty confident that is was lurking in the clouds somewhere.

So this was it, our moment to shine, our chance to make a difference for a great charity. But what a difference a few steps can make. Just three steps down off the bus and we started to realise the full extent of what we were going to face. As people dived from the bus to the bus shelter, it dawned us that we were not really a team of seasoned climbers, but we had a secret weapon up our soggy sleeves, that good old British sense of humour……..and boy did we need it.

On arrival, we met up with the team from St. Lukes who did a fantastic job of keeping us as safe as possible during the climb. We also met the other North West companies climbing for St. Lukes with us. And then it was time to start.

Words really cannot describe the next 4 hours! Torrential driving rain, gale force gusts of wind, a stream running down the path and the realisation that there wasn’t enough waterproof shoe spray in the world to keep our feet dry. If in any doubt, have a look through the Snowdon album on our Facebook page.

The group spread out as people settled in to a comfortable pace. People paired up and one of the key things everyone said when we all met up again was how much they had laughed together. From ponchos blowing off, to a labradoodle called Elvis taking people out on the track, there was never a dull moment.

As the first of the group reached the Half Way House point, the weather was already getting worse and visibility was very poor. The winds were strengthening even more, but the team pushed on for another 30 minutes, but it was becoming more and more dangerous. Eventually they were turned back by one of the wardens. By the time the rest of the group reached the Half Way House, the wardens were not letting anyone go beyond that point.

The descent began as the weather continued to set in. Seeing the faces of the people climbing up, made us realise just what we must have looked like just 30 minutes earlier. But the smugness of being on the downhill stretch felt amazing. The driving rain was now behind us, so we could see better, but the gale force gusts were now trying to hurl us down the mountain. A whole new challenge.

Approaching the meeting point at the bottom, we could see a shining light at the end of the tunnel! Could it really be him, oh yes it could. Our very own Stock Father, Nigel Crane, was waiting for us with flasks of hot stock, beer, snacks and a beaming proud smile. Just the welcome reception we all needed.

Although we didn’t make it to the top (for reasons beyond our control) the sense of achievement was fantastic and the team bond felt stronger than ever. Back on the bus, the team bond got stronger still, as wet clothes were ripped off in a frenzy and we saw things no team should ever have to see!

The journey home was fuelled by sloe gin and a great buzz, as everyone had stories to share about their experiences on the mountain. But the excitement wasn’t over yet! “Let’s have a team beer” were the cries coming from the back of the bus. A great idea. An amazing idea. And then the coach got stuck. We clearly underestimated how much space a 40ft coach needs to turn round.

However, we were the team that had climbed a mountain that morning, this new challenge was nothing, and it wasn’t even raining now. With Karim and Gary holding back traffic on the main round, and encouraging words from the people on the bus to the driver, we soon got that 40ft beast back on the road.

As photos of the climb and the weather started to appear on Facebook and Twitter, the donations continued to “flood” in. Team Essential would all like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has sponsored us, you have all helped make a massive difference as we hand over £7300 to St. Lukes Hospice.

Three peaks challenge anyone?

If you haven’t had chance to donate yet and would like to, please show your support using Heather’s Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/heather-wilde2