19th Nov, 2017

Knightwick man takes on mammoth mountain challenge for St Richard's Hospice

Craig Gibbons 8th Sep, 2017 Updated: 12th Sep, 2017

AN AMBITIOUS Knightwick man scaled 15 mountains in under 20 hours to raise more than £1,000 for St Richard’s Hospice, which cared for his mother.

Darren Watkins, 43, completed the demanding Welsh 3,000 challenge in memory of Maureen Watkins who died of cancer at the hospice, which provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses, in March.

The challenge saw the former Royal Engineer ascend 15 peaks of more than 3,000ft, spread over three Welsh mountain ranges in just 19 hours and 40 minutes, despite adverse weather conditions and a fear of heights.

Mr Watkins said: “I decided to tackle this challenge to raise money for St Richard’s Hospice and also as way of saying thanks after I witnessed this great facility look after my mother.”

He begun the challenge by scaling Snowdon with three friends before continuing to the treacherous Crib Goch ridge and taking on another two peaks.

“As someone who has a fear of heights, this was the part of the challenge I dreaded most,” added Mr Watkins.

“But with limited visibility it actually made it easier for me not to see the sheer drops that lays both sides of the narrow ridge.”

The group then tackled Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr, Y Garn and Foel-fras before Mr Watkins climbed Carnedd Gwenllian, Foel Grach, Yr Elen, Carnedd Llewelyn, Carnedd Dafydd, Pen yr Ole Wen and Tryfan alone.

“My mother asked to visit St Richard’s a few months before she became so ill.

“She was in need of its support and was blown away by the relaxed atmosphere and respect given to those within its care,” said Mr Watkins.

“When she was admitted I visited her every day, along with many family members and friends, and was always made welcome.

“We were always spoken to with compassion from the staff and in her final days it became home for me, my dad and two of my mum’s sisters.

“Me and my father have visited since and placed a heart in memory of mum on the Tree of Life.”

He added: “I look at my times visiting my mum as happy times at the hospice but in sad circumstances.

“We all fear death and hate the thought of losing a loved one but this pain is made bearable in places such as St Richard’s.”

To make a donation to Mr Watkins, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darren-watkins5.

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