[A] KEEN hiker has set himself a cool challenge to raise funds for injured and sick service personnel and veterans.
This weekend Matthew Bamber will attempt to climb Cumbria’s three highest peaks in under 24 hours – with a fridge strapped to his back!
He hopes his madcap scheme will attract around £5,000 in collections and sponsorship which he intends to donate to the charity Help for Heroes.
The 42-year-old from Buckinghamshire began planning his fundraiser after being inspired by the determination of wounded athletes in overcoming adversity to compete at this year’s Invictus Games as part of their road to recovery.
“Usually, I am just your ordinary man in a suit behind a desk but I just decided I had to do something for those guys,” he explained.
“I chose to carry a fridge because it weighs about the same as the pack that Royal Marines hiked with in the Falklands.”
The final weight that Matt will carry depends on how many bottles of water he decides to carry, in addition to the all-important bottle of beer to drink when he reaches the end!
The fridge was donated by Hotpoint whose spokeswoman, Georgia Carrano, said they were very impressed by Matt’s dedication and determination.
“Climbing any mountain is no mean feat but while carrying a refrigerator is certainly going to be tough,” she added. “Hotpoint feels honoured to donate a refrigerator to help Matthew with this challenge and wishes him the very best of luck.”
Joining him on the 50-mile hike will be Gregory Bentley, his brother in law; a staff member from Help for Heroes northern Recovery Centre, Phoenix House in Catterick, with some of the veterans supported there, and local photographer Daniel Mee whose employer has given him time off to record the feat.
Guiding them all up Helvellyn, Skiddaw and Scafell Pike will be Mike Norbury from Keswick Mountain Adventures – “I approached a few guides for help and two told me not to do it. Mike was the only one crazy enough to take me on!”
Matt and his wife Sarah, who are expecting their first child in January, have a cottage at Hesket Newmarket so are regular visitors to the Lake District and have climbed lots of peaks, separately, over the years but doing them all in one go, and with a fridge on his back, is something he has not really been able to practice.
“I think I am fit enough – I play football, use the gym, do CrossFit, and kick boxing, and have also been training with the fridge around Milton Keynes where I live – but there aren’t any mountains there!”
Mark Airey, Recreational & Adventure Training Co-ordinator at Help for Heroes northern Recovery Centre, Phoenix House in Catterick, said the Charity’s supporters dreamt up lots of imaginative ways to raise money but Matt’s was the coolest so far!
“Sport and exercise plays such an important part in the recovery of so many of our beneficiaries, so it’s so appropriate that Matt chose to raise money with such a physical challenge,” said Mark. “I couldn’t resist offering to join him, and neither could some of the people we support at Phoenix House and who we couldn’t continue to help long-term if it weren’t for fundraisers like Matt.”
The Fridgehiker and his party will set off from the Moot Hall in Keswick at 9am on Saturday morning (Sept 10) and hopes to arrive back there to cheers from Sarah and other members of his family at around 7am on Sunday morning.
“I hope to be at the top of Skiddaw for sunrise and then take 2-3 hours walking down to Keswick. I WILL finish it, even if I have to crawl at the end,” he insists.
Find out more, and follow Matt’s progress over the weekend via:
Matt’s employer, Manheim Remarketing, an automotive Auction Company, has already pledged £900 to Help for Heroes via its Manheim Foundation. Other donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/thefridgehiker