A bereaved mother says she felt her son was with her as she tackled the Three Peaks Challenge in his memory.
Matthew Riley, 23, was killed in a road accident last summer in Cambodia while out travelling but had dreamed of doing the daunting challenge of climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon when he returned.
But his parents Ges and Mick, of Ketton, and brother Tom were determined to do the charity challenge for him and on August 13, together with family and friends they did just that.
Fifty-six friends and family climbed Mount Snowdon and a further 12 continued onto the other two mountains.
Ges said: “The best feeling was being at the top of Snowdon with 55 of my closest friends and family members.
“When we were on the top of Snowdon I felt like he was there with us.
“These feelings and emotions will be ones that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Ges said it was particularly challenging because the weather was poor, particularly on Ben Nevis where one member of the group even had “ice on his rucksack” and climbing another in the dark was also difficult.
Ges added: “We would like to extend an enormous heartfelt thank you to everyone for their much appreciated efforts and support especially to those who took part in the challenge with us.”
Participants were: Ged, Mick, Tom, Georgia, Charlie, Katie, Danny, Bernie, Ricky, Frankie, Aaron, Gary, Paul, Graham, John, Tony, Hazel, Jenny, Ste, Mary, Angie, Ellie, Claire, Michael, Lauryn, Jacob, Poppy, Cathy, Shauna, Jamie, Will, Lynne, Graham, Sophie, Caitlin, Dot, John, Dianne, Keith, Emma, Ashley, Jean, Steph, Nigel, Rachael, Donna, Imogen, Anita, Phil, Mandy, Andrew, Mel, Robin, Kara, Jo and Will. Ges’ niece Alicia also climbed a mountain in Canada.
The team was also supported by drivers Gary, Paul and Graham; and Gary Skellett donated fuel.
Ges added: “This was a tough challenge that Matt wanted to complete and he would be so proud of everyone who took part.”
Funds raised from the challenge will go towards Diabetes UK and Mind - charities which Matt had planned to support in memory of his grandfather and auntie - and Cam-Kids, a Cambodian children’s charity Matt helped while he was in the country.
So far, nearly £3,000 has been raised but you can still donate at www.gofundme.com/matthewriley.
A further fundraising evening will be held tomorrow at Ketton Sports Complex to celebrate Matt’s life and for those who took part in the mountain challenge.