Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
Dementia affects nearly 1 million people in the UK and a staggering one in three people over the age of 65 die with a form of dementia every year. My father, John Owain Lewis, and my father in law, John Allison, both lived well, laughed often and gained the respect and love of everyone in their lives. In the last few years of their lives they suffered from different aspects of dementia and were well cared for initially by their families and later at Care Homes in Oxfordshire and Lanarkshire, respectively. At heart they both loved the farming landscapes of their homelands in Wales and Scotland, and it is this love of the outdoors that I too have held dear in my working life and now in retirement.
As a secondary school Headteacher, I spoke often to my students about the importance of seizing new opportunities and rising to new challenges. I now seek to apply this to my love of mountaineering and, through this, to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society.
Following my epic adventure on Mount Kenya (5199 metres) and summit success on Kilimanjaro (5895 metres) in 2005, in January 2013 I climbed Aconcagua (6962 metres), the world's highest summit outside the Himalayas, in memory of my father. Your donations to the Alzheimer's Society have helped, and will help change the lives of people with dementia and those who care for them.
In July 2013 I was off on my travels again, with Adventure Peaks. This time to climb Mount Elbrus (5642 metres), the true highest peak in Europe. Elbrus is in the Russian part of the Caucasus mountain range, close to the border with Georgia, and rises majestically from a beautiful alpine-like valley dominated by glaciated peaks. We climbed two 'training peaks' in the Baksan Valley - Andyrchi 3913m and Kurmychi 4020m - before grabbing a perfect (but rare!) weather window to summit Elbrus.
On the 28th July 2013, I supported The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, organised by the Alzheimer's Society. This 25 mile walk took in the three summits of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales and the aim was to accomplish this round in under 12 hours. Despite the poor weather, this was a fantastic fund raising event by the Alzheimer's Society and your support, though making a donation to the Society, is hugely appreciated. All the money raised goes directly to the Alzheimer's Society to provide care and support for those affected by dementia, like my father, my father in law and their families.
The second half of 2014 saw me in serious training for an attempt on Denali (6194 metres) and the highest mountain in North America. Thank you to all those friends and family who supported my challenge by contributing to the Alzheimer's Society at my 60th Birthday Party in December 2014. Following a period of winter skills and crevasse rescue training in Morocco in February (including the ascent of four peaks over 4000 metres including Jbel Toubkal at 4167 metres), I travelled to Alaska in June 2015. Climbing the West Buttress Route, we summitted Denali in perfect weather on 15 June 2015.
My most recent 'new challenge' has been to run a half marathon. Thinking The Windsor Half Marathon would be flat (!), it was with some trepidation that I set out, after friends described the course as 'hilly'. 2 hours 10 minutes later, I was able to reflect on the fantastic support I had - even from complete strangers - as people saw and recognised the Alzheimer's Society running vest with which I had been supplied. Sponsorship from our local church in Sonning Common (Saint Michael's) alone has raised over £300, and this will enable the vital work of Dementia Support Workers to continue.
I have prepared a talk on these travels, challenges and opportunities and I have delivered it to my local Rotary Club (Loddon Vale in Berkshire). Please contact me if such a talk would be of interest to you. All money raised goes to the Alzheimer's Society.
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.
So please dig deep and donate now. Every little will help all those who suffer from, and families who are affected by, dementia.Thank you.