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MEI Online: People News: Europe: July 13th 2011


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:: Eriez Teams Climb Mountains for Charity

At 6:15am we all stood at the top of Wales. We all felt amazing. The two hours climb had been worth it as the views were spectacular. We were above the clouds and had felt the sun rise on our backs as we climbed. Unbeknown to us, snow had fallen on Snowdon the night before and it was cold. Thankfully, the snow had disappeared, although the ground untouched by the rising sun was coated in a thick frost.


Being at the top was almost surreal and worth every minute that I had spent on the crosstrainer at 5:30 in the morning and on training walks in the pouring rain.

This was the second year that Eriez had entered teams in the Welsh 3-Peaks challenge, sponsored and organised by GE Aviation Wales, raising money for the childrenís hospice, Ty Hafan. In 2010, we had been unable to reach the summit of Snowdon due to poor visibility and high winds. The contrast in weather could not have been more acute.


The Eriez teams [Eriez Not Camping This Year and Eriez Mountain Goats] were formed by employees from across the business. I was joined by John Curwen, Sales Director; John Clarke, General Manager Prisecter; Glyn Jones, Team Leader Electricians and Repairs; Lee Quinn, Painter; Paul Hale, Production Manager ≠ Metal Detection; Jason Davey, Contracts Engineer; Raith Greenway, Laboratory Technician; and Daryl Minty, Sales Administration. We were also joined by Chris Parlour of Corporate Travel Plus, our travel agent and were supported by Gwyn Hinton, Chargehand ≠ Metal Detection and Steve Morris, UK Sales, who had volunteered to drive the teams between the mountains. Despite entering as two teams, we walked as one. It was ironic that we had to climb mountains to enable some employees to get to know each other for the very first time.


Climbing the three highest mountains in Wales was a real challenge and we had been training since February, often meeting at 7am in the Brecon Beacon mountains on a Sunday morning irrespective of the weather. As I stood on the top of Snowdon I wondered how many people had experienced this thrill and wonder. Unfortunately, many of the children, young people and their families who are cared for by Ty Hafan would never have the chance to climb mountains. Those thoughts put our aches and pains into perspective.


The Eriez teams raised over £5,000 in sponsorship, having been supported by suppliers, colleagues from around the globe, foreign representatives, family and friends. Their support was invaluable and it meant that we could commit vital funds that would ensure that Ty Hafan continued to open their doors and help children and young people with life limiting illnesses and their families. My family was one that benefited from their care and so I knew, on a very personal basis, how precious Ty Hafan was. To claim their sponsorship, all we had to do was climb the three mountains in under fifteen hours, including travelling time. On paper, this sounded a straight forward challenge. In reality, it meant a great deal of commitment and effort.

After staying at a youth hostel in Rowen, which seemed to be perched on top of the fourth highest peak in Wales, we set off at 3:30am on Saturday, 11th June. An hour later, we were standing in the gloom at the base of the Pyg Track, ready to climb the first mountain, Snowdon. It was 4:30am and cold. Thankfully, it was not raining, which was unusual for Wales.

After Snowdon we climbed up the second highest mountain, Cadair Idris. This was the hardest mountain with a climb of nearly 800 metres with an initial thirty minute walk up uneven rocky steps that seemed to suck the energy out of your thighs. This challenge was not something for the faint hearted. The severity of some of the ascents was brutal and by the time we were walking back to the car park, several members of the team were suffering.

We all knew the last mountain well, having walked it many times during our training sessions. Pen-y-Fan is the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons and is used by the armed forces to train recruits. Gwyn, one of our drivers, joined us for the last mountain walk.

At 7:15pm we walked across the finish line at the bottom of Pen-y-Fan, exhausted but exhilarated. Many of the teamís partners, wives and children were there to congratulate us. It had been tough at times, but we had all completed the challenge as a team. We had worked together, helping each other when we were hurting and ensuring that we achieved our objective of getting all the team across the finish line together.

by Paul Fears, Managing Director, Eriez Magnetics Europe Ltd




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