Trekkers Take on Challenge for The Chiltern Centre

The Leander Club hosted an informal event on behalf of The Chiltern Centre last Thursday to wish good luck to a group of people who are embarking on an adventure to climb Mount Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains.

This 6-day challenge commences today (28 May) and has been organised by 360 Expeditions to raise funds for the Chiltern Centre in Henley. The intrepid team, come from a range of backgrounds, professions, abilities and ages, all have close connections to The Chiltern Centre and have the common goal of raising as much as they can for a charity they support.

The team include Matt Mackinnon, Malcolm McGilchrist, Jenny Williamson, Marc Gross, Ben Ansell, Cheryl Purver, Nick Steel and Jane Ainslie, however, Lynne Lambourne, despite raising over £3k, is now unable to take part due to an Achilles injury.

Emma Lerche-Thomsen, The Chiltern Centre Fundraiser, stated “We try to organise a challenging trip every 18 – 24 months. This particular trip was delayed following the earthquakes that devastated Morocco last September and we are delighted it is now taking place.”

Marc Gross said,  “This hike is not just about conquering the highest peak in North Africa, standing at an impressive 4,167m (13,671ft). We are doing it for a cause that holds a special place in our hearts.”

Jenny Williamson, said  “A couple of years ago I attended the Regatta for Disabled at Phyllis Court and watched the boat races The Chiltern Centre participated in.  The pure joy expressed by the young people at the centre just by being a part of something and having fun was overwhelming and inspiring to me.  It struck a chord with me and the joy on their faces has stayed with me. I know this trek will help raise really important funds that enable the centre to operate and to continue to offer care and support to the families that need it.”

Cheryl Purver who works at the Centre stepped in at the last minute 12 days ago,  said “Despite not feeling physically ready I am looking forward to undertaking this challenge, including all the highs and lows. I feel fortunate that I can drop everything to do something like this trip that will support the people who use the Centre including their families and I feel privileged to be able to do so.”

Amelia Ash, was awarded the role of Ambassador to The Chiltern Centre at the event and is one of the reasons why many of the team are doing this challenge. Amelia, who has Down syndrome, is Ben Ansell and Marc Goss’s sister-in-law.  Amelia, who lives in Henley, works at Phyllis Court and the River and Rowing Museum café and volunteers for the Buddies youth group. Amelia spoke at the event, expressing her thanks and concluded by saying “You are all amazing and you are my heroes.” Marc Gross said, “She is an extraordinary person and her resilience, grace and determination have inspired us all.”

Newly elected Mayor of Henley, Councillor Rory Hunt, attended the event in support of the trekkers fundraising efforts.

To date, the fundraising total stands at an amazing £22,254.  If anyone wishes to sponsor the team, the link is below, the hike is in aid of The Chiltern Centre photos and videos will be uploaded of their Journey, so you can follow their progress.


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