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116 %
raised of £10,000 target
by 303 supporters
Matthew Wallis avatar
Matthew Wallis

The Astralis Commando Squad

Fundraising for Marie Curie

116 %
raised of £10,000 target
by 303 supporters
  • Team members: Matt Wallis, Grant Coren, Kris McMahon, James Ryding
  • Event: Marie Curie Cancer Care - Great Escape Challenge, 21 May 2010

Marie Curie

We offer expert care, guidance and support to people living with a terminal illness

Charity Registration No. 207994 (England & Wales) and SC038731 (Scotland)




Last weekend the Brecon Beacons was awash with teams from all across the country pitting their wits against each other in a grueling 10 hour marathon of running, cycling, kayaking, strength, cerebral and teamwork challenges.  In what can at best be described as unseasonably good weather or, more accurately, be described as sun burn and dehydration inducing heat, the four of us from The Astralis Commando Squad gave 100% to not only complete the course but actually did pretty well!


We had some good events and not some not so good events (it is fair to say never engage us to build you a bridge…) but, we stuck together as a team at all times and crossed the finish line 8th out of 38 teams, it would have been top 5 if it weren’t for a puncture toward the end.  Despite carrying three puncture repair kits and being experts at tyre changing, we neglected to pack a pump, which really didn’t make life any easier, especially as we were all out of breath by then! 


Sadly though some of our early enthusiasm, (coupled with lack of strength and cerebral ability) meant that we made some silly mistakes on challenges and subsequently finished 17th overall.  Still a top half finish did exceed our early expectations although we clearly fitted into the more brawn and less brain category, which is depressing bearing in mind how little brawn we have.




The role YOU have all played in our challenge has meant we have achieved so much more.


The support we received from you, the messages of good luck you sent us, drove us on during what were a lot of very hard moments.  This feeling was only exceeded by the knowledge of what the money we had raised would be used to do.  This genuinely raised our spirits all day and reminded us of the value of why we were there.


Thanks to the INCREDIBLE generosity of you all by Saturday night we had raised £11,535.21 for Marie Curie Cancer Care!!  That figure is also still rising.  This is more than any other team in the whole event and you should all be as proud as we are that this is one aspect of the challenge in which everyone has won!


To put that in context that money could pay for 576 hours of nursing care, an entire month’s drug bill at one of Marie Curie’s hospices, or 11 portable oxygen systems allowing patients to move around their own homes in the last few weeks and days rather than being confined to their bed.  The support you have given has made a difference and we are overwhelmed by you all.


The Great Escape Challenge itself will grow and grow.  Next year they want to double the number of teams competing, so if we have managed to generate even the smallest thought in your mind that this could be something you would be keen to participate in next year, do let one of us know and we will send information to you about it.  I’m sure you will be able to count on us for sponsorship!


Thanks to you all again, not only from our team but also from the team of nurses and specialists at Marie Curie Cancer Care who without your support could not do the amazing things they do. It was an amazing experience, a tremendous weekend and one where without your support there would have been no point, thank you.  Now that we are back and have showered several times we are almost human, able to move and ready to commence our training for next year J


The Astralis Commando Squad

Grant, James, Kris & Matt   

16th May 2010 - Just 5 days to the event!

A massive thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, we have far exceeded our wildest expectations in terms of fundraising.  With less than a week to go we have decided to go for one last push and try to reach £10,000!!!  If you can help us with a donation it would make a massive difference for all at Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The Astralis Commando Squad.



We are truely humbled by the support you have all given us so far, and with the exception of the physical and emotional pain you have wished on us all (some of which has already come true....) we are very fortunate to have such amazing friends, so thank you!

Your support means we have now exceeded our target of £4,000!  That means 200 hours of free nursing care for terminally ill cancer patients and support for their families, we are sure you will agree a very worth while cause.

BUT now we are aiming higher.  £1,000 will buy a Portable Oxygen System that will relieve distressing symptoms wherever the patient happens to be, not confining them to a bed, so patients can lead as normal a life as possible in their last few months, weeks and days.  So we want to raise enough money for Marie Curie to be able to purchase two of these, hence the new target of £6,000.  Any help you can give will make an immediate difference so, thank you to all those who have already supported us and thank you in advance for those are able to help in the future.

The Mission:

In May 2010, four men will pit their minds, bodies and spirits against an unprecedented, all out challenge of physical and mental endurance.  The finest competitors from all across the country will arrive in the wind blasted wilderness of the Brecon Beacons competing in the Marie Curie Challenge.

The four Competitors will not told what they will be facing - they will simply have to pit their wits against nature.  What will befall them?   What challenges will they have to face?  What fears will they confront?  Only history will relate.  We only know that they are slightly fat, slightly unfit, and slightly apprehensive.  They are...The Astralis Commando (Charity) Squad.

Scared?  They will be.  Now hand over the cash, it's for a good cause.

The Good cause…………….

We are doing it to raise much needed funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care, a charity close to the hearts of everybody in this team.  Marie Curie Nurses provide free nursing care to cancer patients and those with other terminal illnesses in their own homes.  They are incredible people and can only continue their work if they receive more funding.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.


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