Speaker meeting 2nd February 2015

The Rotary Club of Church Wilne welcomed Will Blanche to its speaker meeting on Monday 2nd February when he gave the members an inspirational talk and presentation on his "3 Peaks, 3 Wheels and 3 Days" challenge on behalf of the Jessica Hope Foundation.

The parents of Jessica set up this foundation following the devasting loss of Jessica as a tribute to their beautiful, brave 16 year old daughter. The aims are to promote public awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumors in children and young adults to also fund vital research into the treatment of brain tumors. The purchase, also, of items and equipment for the Children's and Young Adult's Oncology Ward at the QMC helps brighten the lives of local young people living with cancer by funding gifts, trips and outings.

Jessica was diagnosed with a brain tumor in April 2012 and despite chemotherapy and operations never lost the will to live but died just 10 months later. She loved her school, was very sociable and mountains and skiing were very much part of her young life.

Will had enjoyed skiing in the past with Jessica and during her final months Jessica completed many challenges and also saw Eugene Bolt win the 100 metre final at the London Olympics.

Will, who is wheel chair bound due to Spina Bifida, spoke about his challenge for the Foundation of "3 peaks, on 3 wheels over 3 days" He took advice from many mountain leaders and it took 10 months of hard training, 6 days a week, to reach the fitness required for the challenge. He needed a new chair and one was donated worth £6,000

There were 14 in the team to assist the challenge and after training getting up to 2,750 feet on Snodonia it was time for the challenge.

Ben Nevis was their first mountain to climb, but the weather delayed the start of what should have been a 14 hour climb due to 100 MPH winds and heavy rain. They had to turn back just before the peak for safety reasons but it was still considered a success. The next day they reached the summit of Skiddaw in the Lake District and finally onto Snowdonia. The climb started quite gently with many follows giving lots of support and the final assent in the mist and clouds saw Will having to crawl to the summit showing great grit and determination.

The BBC covered the whole climb and this was broadcast on their return home.

The film that accompanied the presentation was moving and inspirational and donations to date have exceeded £8,000

Peter Woods in his vote of thanks congratulated Will on his fantastic achievement and wished him all the best for the "Next One"

Following the meeting a cheque for £610 was presented to Will for the Jessica Hope Foundation.

Ray Terry
For the Rotary Club of Church Wilne

For more information on Rotary and our speaker evenings, please contact Rotarian John Astell at: rccw1220@gmail.com


26th January 2015

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