Fund raisers climb three peaks for three charities

Joe Wignell with band which played on all three peaks EMN-140729-121729001

Joe Wignell with band which played on all three peaks EMN-140729-121729001

When the teenage girlfriend of a band member died suddenly last year, the group of four decided they would do something out of the ordinary in her memory.

Last month Rutland-born drummer Joe Wignell and the three other members of the dance-rock band China Shop Bull climbed the UK’s three peaks taking all their instruments and busking amps with them and played on each of the peaks - Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike.

“It was incredibly hard, walking up with the gear,” said Joe, 29, from Ayston.

The former Leighfield Primary School and Uppingham Community College pupil and friends Oliver Dobson, John Yates and Anthony Roberts also raised £2,500 for the Stroke Association.

Oliver’s girlfriend Emma Witty died from an aneurysm, a type of stroke, aged 19.

Her favourite song was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird.

Joe, who now works for the NHS’s prescriptions and pricing division in Wakefield, Leeds said: “That was the song we performed on the peaks.

“The climb was very painful, but I felt it was worth it when I got to the top because we were doing it for a reason. That spurred us on.”

The climb up England’s 3209 ft Scafell Pike in Cumbria, Scotland’s 4409 ft Ben Nevis and Wales’ 3560 ft Snowdon, in Wales took the band a total of 32 hours.

Nevertheless Joe said the walk, which they called the 4000ft to Freedom Project, was well worth the effort because for all of them, Oliver especially, it was “a truly heartfelt way to remember Emma” whose organs were used to save six other lives.

Joe said the effort was also aimed at raising awareness of organ donation.

To find out more and to donate to the 4000ft to Freedom Project go to or Facebook page

Taking on the three peaks challenge was also Stamford Endowed School teacher Liz Taylor.

Liz climbed the three Yorkshire peaks to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, in memory of her dad Harold Anderton who died of a heart attack in his mid 60s.

Liz, 46, who did the climb 30 years ago at the age of 16 when she was at school said: “I have been so busy raising children, I’ve not had much time to repeat it.

“I remember it being tough then but this time it was extremely tough.

“The last climb of Ingleborough peak was the toughest because you are going vertically up the peak.”

The total climb of 1,4075 metres, a walking distance of 23.4miles, took Liz seven hours and 55 minutes.

“At the age of 16 it took me 8 hours and 26 minutes,” said Liz. “Does that mean I’m fitter? I don’t know.”

Liz, of Morton, who teaches the violin, trained at Rutland Water to prepare for her climb.

She said she wasn’t sure she could do the climb but was encouraged by her mum Ann, children Simon, 20, and Becky, 17 and husband Nick who were “very supportive.”

Five members of Stamford XT also took on the UK three peak challenge. Ian Scott, Dave Martin, John Willoughby, Steve Marsh and Mike Mills took on the challenge in aid of Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice and scaled all three peaks in just under 26 hours.

The group have so far raised almost £3,000 for the hospice’s £6m new building appeal.

Mr Marsh thanked all those who had donated so far. If you would like to sponsor the group, visit




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