A group of tough climbers have battled rain, wind and fog as part of Metro’s 2022 Lifeline campaign to raise thousands for charity.
Alongside Metro.co.uk staff and readers, supporters of PAPYRUS to prevent suicide among young people – including bereaved families and friends – came together to reach the summit of England’s highest mountain in a nighttime fundraiser on Saturday.
The party set off at 10.30pm and reached the summit of Scafell Pike by 4.30am before returning to the ground as the sun rose over the Lake District.
Many carried with them the memories of loved ones lost to suicide and spoke of the “healing process” the hike induced.
PAPYRUS Ambassador, actress Cat White, was the first to reach the summit, walking in honor of her friend Simon.
Despite the intensity of the challenge, she said “adrenaline” kept her going alongside the camaraderie among her fellow hikers.
“It definitely felt like Simon was with me,” she said.
Cat added, “When I was asked if I would like to participate, I didn’t really have a question, I just knew I had to do it.
“Yesterday I kept thinking, ‘I’m not ready, I can’t do this’, but the adrenaline just kept us going today. I’m feeling really emotional, I just don’t have the words to describe it. It was wonderful.”
Conditions on Scafell Pike were not pleasant for hikers, with driving rain and strong winds adding to the already difficult climb.
The group also spent hours bouldering, using their hands and feet in certain spots to crawl over mismatched rocks made slippery by the rain.
As the adventurers struggled to keep their balance, some joked it was like “an elaborate twister game” or “interpretive dance.”
Andy Airey and Mike Palmer, walking in memory of their daughters Sophie and Beth, carried PAPYRUS flags all the way through as a constant reminder of the cause ahead.
The pair make up two-thirds of the 3 Dads Walking group.
Not only are they raising huge sums of money for charity, but they are also highlighting the impact getting outdoors can have on mental health.
Andy, a Trustee of PAPYRUS, said: “I guess I knew this all along growing up in the Lake District – but the first walking challenge I did with 3 Dads Walking really brought it home.
“It’s so important to walk and talk, and do it outdoors.
“Sometimes when you’re across the table from each other, it’s difficult to talk about personal things – but walking side by side is easier to be honest and share – and it really saves lives.”
Intrepid walkers returned from Scafell Pike around 7.30am on Sunday to great cheers and clapping from Charity Challenge teams who had prepared a big breakfast.
Only then did many of the participants begin to appreciate the sheer magnitude of their accomplishment.
Allan Graham and Kate Bates had laced their boots for Kate’s daughter Grace, whom they lost to suicide.
The 17-year-old had sought advice but overwhelmed services meant she had not received professional support before her death.
The couple had carried Grace’s ashes to the summit.
“I’m very proud,” Kate said.
“It was so challenging but so incredible. The overnight camaraderie was out of this world.
“I’m not sure if it’s because of what we did. But it was a healing process.
“We are both thrilled to have met everyone, including the PAPYRUS team, and so proud to be able to do so.
“We did this to help others and spread Grace’s love, and it was a fitting time and place to spread some of her ashes.”
After completing their trek, weary walkers gathered at Sticklebarn near the base of Scafell Pike for one last emotional goodbye before heading to their homes across the UK.
Sarah Petherbridge attended in memory of her son Zak, whom she lost to suicide at the age of 18.
He had hidden his intense struggle with mental health from friends and family and died three weeks into university.
Sarah had been joined on the hike by Debbie Taylor, who explained she didn’t want her friend to have to walk alone.
PAPYRUS prevention for boy suicide
For practical, confidential help and advice on suicide prevention, please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, SMS 07860 039967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The pair had different walking speeds but made sure to reunite for the last half hour so they could complete the hike together.
“I don’t know what to say,” Sarah tearfully said after finishing the grueling nine-hour performance.
“I’m definitely so proud and I’m so glad Debbie came.
“I hate the fact that I have a reason for it and as always it’s going to be hard to go home without it. But I’m proud, really proud.”
Many on the night’s hike shared memories of loved ones – and had gone from strangers to friends within hours.
Paige Winter from London described the feat as “one of the most difficult challenges” she has ever mastered.
The 30-year-old had been invited to the Ascension by a friend and was keen to take part in a trial to break the stigma that still exists for many when it comes to speaking out about mental health.
Paige said: “It’s such a worthy charity and cause.
“It was really special to have so many like-minded people around. It was such a challenge, but it’s just such a great feeling.’
Other participants included friends Polly Maclennan and Amy Trevan, who signed up for the hike just last week.
They had raised £1,000 in record time ahead of Saturday’s hike and spoke of their “celebratory moment” at the summit.
Almost £25,000 has been raised by participants so far, which will help fund the charity’s incredibly important work.
Before the group broke up, Hazel Russell, Head of Fundraising at PAPYRUS, thanked everyone who attended, adding, “You saved someone’s life today, thank you very much.”
The walking team included Metro.co.uk Editor-in-Chief Deborah Arthurs and Deputy Editor-in-Chief Claire Eaton-Rutter, who were joined by reporters and staff from MailMetroMedia.
Discussing the decision to support the charity as part of this year’s Lifeline campaign, Deborah said, “Supporting PAPYRUS has been so important, both for me personally and for our entire team at Metro.
“Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people under 35 and mental health is an issue that affects us all.
“Talking to people along the way – including so many who had lost daughters, sons, friends and family members to suicide – really shows how important it is for us to talk – to share our stories, to have difficult conversations that Changing lives and inspiring each other.”
There is still time to donate to Papyrus and you can do so by clicking here.
And to read more stories from the Lifeline campaign, you can follow this link.
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MORE: Two mothers who lost their children to suicide tell why they are helping raise thousands for charity
MORE: “We need to talk about child suicide — it’s heartbreaking I didn’t know my daughter was so unhappy.”
MORE: My son took his own life in lockdown – as a parent you can’t help but feel guilty
METRO.CO.UK LIFELINE 2022
This year our brilliant charity campaign returns: Metro.co.uk Lifeline.
Our goal is simple – with YOUR help, raise as much money as possible for charity.
For 2022 we have chosen to support PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, a vital organization working hard to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives.
As well as sharing their story to raise awareness, readers, charity supporters and celebrities will also make their way up England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, at night on 2nd July 2022.
Click here to learn more and sign up.
To make a donation click here or you can do it by SMS:
text 5SCAFELL to 70085 to donate £5
text 10SCAFELL to 70085 to donate £10
text 20SCAFELL to 70085 to donate £20
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/04/metro-lifeline-appeal-2022-hikers-climb-scafell-pike-for-papyrus-16939345/ Metro Lifeline Appeal 2022: Hikers climb Scafell Pike for Papyrus