Intrepid team from Lowestoft set to scale the heights

BEST FOOT FORWARD: The group of ten who will embark on the Three Peaks Challenge. Organiser Mike Tills is on the far right. Pictures: MICK HOWES BEST FOOT FORWARD: The group of ten who will embark on the Three Peaks Challenge. Organiser Mike Tills is on the far right. Pictures: MICK HOWES

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
8:57 AM

It all started last winter as Lowestoft man Mike Tills was pondering the big four-oh.

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Lowestoft teenager Taylor High who died in a crash in west Norfolk in March 2011.Lowestoft teenager Taylor High who died in a crash in west Norfolk in March 2011.

But his determination to do something special to mark his 40th birthday led to him encouraging nine of his friends to join him on a major fundraising challenge.

This weekend, the group will be aiming to help two charities close to their hearts by completing the Three Peaks Challenge – climbing the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales.

Their task will be to conquer Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon within 24 hours – while raising about £10,000 for the Taylor High Memorial Fund and Bowel Cancer UK.

Mr Tills said: “About eight months ago I started thinking about planning something for my 40th birthday. I wanted to do something that I could remember with all my mates, and it has proved to be of the best things I’ve ever done.”

From left to right, Tony Daines, Scott McMillan and Simon Thorne. Picture: SUPPLIEDFrom left to right, Tony Daines, Scott McMillan and Simon Thorne. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mr Tills, who was 40 on June 3, has been joined by his friends for regular training sessions to prepare for the challenge, which will see them walking 26 miles and ascending about 9,800ft (3,000m).

“We have all been training quite hard and all are feeling better for it – losing weight and feeling better within ourselves,” he said. “We are now speaking about it becoming an annual fund-raiser, with a different event each year.”

The team consists of Mr Tills, Tony Daines, Matt Tills, Simon Coote, Neil Dale, Iain Harvey, Jamie Woolnough, Stuart Forsdike, Stacy Bryenton, Kerry Mutch and Brad Leeson, who is the designated driver.

They have all been training four times a week on a circuit covering local beaches and cliffs, and they have also used Sundays to walk to Southwold from Pakefield.

Mr Tills has a personal connection with Bowel Cancer UK as his wife Emma was diagnosed with the illness. He is keen to thank the unit at the James Paget University Hospital which cared for her, by helping to fund new equipment.

He is also friends with the High family, who set up a fund in memory of 19-year-old Taylor High, who died in a crash in west Norfolk in March 2011. Since the Taylor High Memorial Fund was set up, it has raised thousands of pounds for good causes across Waveney.

The intrepid group has already held two fundraising charity nights, and they are also seeking individual sponsorship. Mr Daines, who works as a project manager at CLS Offshore in Great Yarmouth, has also received £1,000 from the firm to help the team in reaching their target of raising £10,000.

“Everyone at CLS wishes Tony and the team the best of luck in this tough challenge,” said Scott McMillan, managing director of CLS 
Offshore.

“It’s not every day you decide to climb the three mountains in under 24 hours; the time and training that needs to be committed to is tremendous.”

To support the fund-raisers, visit the Taylor High Memorial Fund page on Facebook.

Have you got a Lowestoft story? E-mail mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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