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Oh, how we used to mock. Look at those sad ramblers, with their waterproofs and hiking boots and walking sticks and bobble hats. Look at them, all wrapped up, with their meat pies and Kendal Mint Cake ‘just in case’. Get a proper hobby that takes a bit of effort.
     Not any more. Oh, no. 
     A week after discovering the ‘hell’ in Scafell, with the subsequent seized knees, stiff quads and bruised backsides, our Spectrum Kilimanjaro Challenge training opted for the more sedate pace of a weekend climbing the gentle rolling hills of the Trough of Bowland.
     We were staying at Smelt Mill, the base for the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, with the promise of a stroll through an area of outstanding natural beauty, coupled with a few refreshments and team bonding games on the Saturday evening.
     The ‘Mountain Rescue’ bit of that should have sounded alarm bells really. If it’s that gentle and pretty and relaxing, why would anyone need rescuing? Well, five hours into day one I was fantasising about succumbing to a badly twisted ankle and working out the best place to ‘collapse’ so the air ambulance could land close enough. Yes, it was that hard.

IT'S GONNA HURT

     The day began when the (brilliant) team of volunteer guides/mountain rescuers talked us through the schedule. I don’t remember them saying ‘this will make or break you, bring your game day head because it’s gonna hurt’. All I remember was ‘1730-1800 Cottage Pie and drinks’. Maybe I wasn’t listening properly. At that stage the biggest worry was whether I’d packed enough crisps and Percy Pigs.
     The shock of the reality hit somewhere between “wear your long pants because there are deadly ticks ready to bite in them there hills’ and the point where we were on a 60 angle walking amongst ferns which grew so tall you could only see their leaves and sky. And that was two minutes in. 
     Five minutes in and I was being blinded by my own sweat. Six minutes in and I realised ‘no, definitely not enough Percy Pigs’. Little did I know that later that day I would dream about being back among those jungle fems.
     Look at the pictures here and you see England’s beauty, all rolling green and meandering streams. Get up close and personal and it’s enemy territory. Marshes and bogs hide beneath the pretty heather and bracken, waiting to suck you in to their dark and murky depths. Every step is a challenge because there really is no such thing as a decent foothold. Those walking poles become your best friends as you prod the earth for solid purchase, or lean on them for leverage in the most hostile terrain. And this is high summer remember.

BRINGING UP THE REAR

     Our band of brothers (and sisters) this weekend was made up of members of the Kilimanjaro Challenge team, and my partner Dean, who’d woken up this time. Among us, the former GB and St Helens winger Alan Hunte, and fellow ex-wire Neil Harmon. Jenna, Queen of the Selfie Stick, was there too as well as the actor Matt Lewis, and the two other females in the Killmanjaro crew, Hayley Russell and Janet Caldwell, plus her husband Paddy.
     It soon became apparent who would be forging ahead and who would be bringing up the rear. The latter was composed of, well, me. And Alan Hunte, whose years of top flight rugby league had played havoc with his joints.
     I became a bit cross with the ‘flyers’ especially as we’d see them stop ahead, waiting for us to catch up, only to start again as soon as we did, giving them a nice rest and us nothing of the sort.
     On day two, early into the climb, that became a big issue in my head. My knees were playing up and the crest of this particular climb seemed unreachable. Still, the fast ones were flying off into the distance. I will admit, I put my head down and had a little cry. But as Steve said, it ain’t a challenge unless it’s challenging so I ploughed on, sulkily.  

RUBBISH KNEES

     It’s a cliche to say you can never appreciate something in the moment, but only when you look back when it’s over. The final descent on day one was long and steep and for those of us with rubbish knees, a killer. It took a while to get down but then, when we did, we looked back and the view caught our breath.  From the bottom looking up, your head would say, ‘that’s unconquerable’. But when you know you have indeed scaled that beast, your head tells you, ‘see, you CAN do it’. 
     Every single one of us had our own challenges that weekend, every single one of us learned something about ourselves. My own particular lesson was this: You know you are going to do it, so quit with the whinging and do it. It won’t make it any easier but it’ll be a hell of a lot more pleasant for everyone else who doesn’t want to hear the moaning.

EIGHT GRUELLING HOURS

The Trough of Bowland is breathtaking. The pictures cannot do it justice. You have to see it. And to see it from our viewpoint, you have to climb. On day one we walked 15 miles in eight gruelling hours, and sometimes it’s the boredom of the ‘one foot in front of the other’ trudge that gets to you. When our guide stopped the group to offer the option of a short cut that would shorten the walk by about two hours, I admit my hand was ready to rise. The decision was made for us by the front runners though, and I’m glad we cracked on. We saw parts of England we would never have dreamt of had we not accepted the Kilimanjaro challenge, so we are already the richer for it.
     Along the way I got to meet properly for the first time some of the team, and those few moments of chat and climb together made it all worthwhile. Chico Jackson, Barry Brown, Phil Leivesley, and John Hodkinson were all names on a round robin email before that weekend, but they became comrades overnight.  That’s going to be invaluable when the real tough climb comes along. Add to that list Adrian Cunliffe, whose idea this was,  and mad hairdresser Paul Heesom, two characters you couldn’t invent even on your most imaginative days, believe me.
     The evening was for drinking and swapping stories and being daft and having a laugh. They call it team bonding, and it worked. What goes on tour, stays on tour. And facebook.

TOP TEAM - SMELT MILL MOUTNAIN RESCUERS

    Last word has to go to the Smelt Mill team. These guys walked every step of the way with us, taking turns to lead and set the pace, or shore up the rear. They are volunteers, and trained to be there to save lives when the occasion arises. We never see them from our little suburban cafes and parks. But they do an amazing job, making sure we are safe as we explore these hidden bits of English countryside. Thanks guys.
     The aftermath of this weekend wasn’t quite so painful as the Scafell experience, the joints and muscles were back to normal by Tuesday, which is a sign that we are all getting that bit stronger.

Bring on October and that African mountain. I’ve rambled the Trough of Bowland, I have nothing to fear from you.













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Elly Gay, KS2 Phase Leader of Stockwell Academy in East Hull contacted Linzi Prescott Trustee of the SPF recently.

Elly said ‘The winning house for each term donate a cheque for £50 to a charity linked with their house. The school house winners for the autumn term is Prescott House.’

Registration is now open for the GPW Recruitment St Helens 10k run 2020 which takes place on Sunday 1th March. The event is open for runners age 16 and over.

The annual St Helens 10k starts and finishes at Langtree Park with runners taking on the testing North Road on the way.

26th June to 2nd July - Introduction

Cycling Paris to Blackpool will be an awesome experience starting from the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, where Steve Prescott once visited, then setting off on a 450 mile bike ride to the magnificent  Blackpool Tower. 

Whilst the normal charity cycle is from Paris to London as ever the Steve Prescott Foundation (SPF) have gone that step further and has stretched this charity challenge by cycling on to the famous Blackpool Tower. This is a truly inspirational ride that will take you through some magnificent scenic towns, making your heart burst with pride as you cycle this epic challenge for this amazing cause and continuing the great mans legacy!

Sept 4th - Sept 6th - Introduction

Nestled within the Pennine Range of the Yorkshire Dales National Park lie the iconic three peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. Your challenge is to summit all three peaks in 12 hours, so that  The Steve Prescott Foundation can continue supporting  The Christie, The Rugby League Benevolent Fund & SPF Special Causes Fund as well as continuing the great man Steve Prescott’s legacy.

SPF Yorkshire Three Peaks 2020 - Full Information

Steve Prescott Foundation (SPF) Trustees Linzi Prescott and Ade Cunliffe accompanied by SPF ambassadors Adrian Morley and George Riley on Friday 13th December presented a magnificent £40k cheque to Prof Mark Saunders, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and to The Christie Charity Community Fundraising Officer Louise Dawson. Mark is the lead consultant clinical oncologist at The Christie who specialises in the treatment of Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP) and gastrointestinal tumours.

The Altisidora Inn, Bishop Burton, Beverley held their first 5k Santa Dash to raise funds and awareness of the Steve Prescott Foundation last weekend. Thirty brave Santas battled the treacherous weather conditions to complete the course. They were able to enjoy festive fare and the cosy warmth of the 19th century Grade 2 listed hostelry on the completion of the run.

Organisers Diane and Mark Milsom said ' Everyone had a great time, and are already looking forward to next years run. Hull FC star and SPF ambassador Danny Washbrook was an absolute legend AGAIN! Not only helping promote via social media, but also starting and finishing the run. A magnificent £500 has already been raised for the Steve Prescott Foundation,with a bit more still to come.'

A massive thank you to everyone who took part in the inaugural Santa Dash and to Mark and Diane for their organisation and hospitality.

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Prescott Foundation(SPF) Trustees Linzi Prescott and Mike Denning accompanied by SPF ambassadors rugby league legend Paul Sculthorpe MBE, actor Mike Parr and George Riley presented a magnificent £50k cheque to Dr Mark Saunders, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and representatives of The Christie Charity, Nichola Doran, Community Development Manager and Louise Dawson, Community Fundraising Officer. Mark is the lead consultant clinical oncologist at The Christie who specialises in the treatment of Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP) and gastrointestinal tumours.

Spectrum - Sponsors of the Kilimanjaro Challenge 2015 The “WORLD RECORD” challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and play the world’s highest game of rugby league, lies ahead for a unique team of volunteers in October 2015.All to raise funds & awareness, for the Steve Prescott Foundation (SPF).

But this is no ordinary team of volunteers. They include some true legends of rugby league and leaders on the field ; Adrian Morley of Salford Red Devils, retired legends Lee Briers, Barrie McDermott, Garreth Carvell, Chico Jackson, Mike Wainwright, Neil Harmon and Alan Hunte. Who will all be kept in line, by the watchful eye & keen whistle of non other than Referee Supremo, Robert Hicks.

In the climbing party are Sky Sports Angela Powers, and BBC TV’s Beccy Meehan, who will not only be climbing the mountain and taking part in the world record rugby game, but also filming the whole challenge to be broadcast across their respective TV networks.

And from the film world, we have the actor, Matthew Lewis, famous for his role as Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films, taking on the challenge.

In the spirit of Steve Prescott, the challenge is to climb the 19,341ft mountain in just 6 days instead of the more usual 9 days. AND, when reaching the summit, the team will then mark out a full sized rugby pitch, erect 2 sets of inflatable rugby posts, and play a full game of rugby league. It will challenge each individual’s fitness and mental stamina as they reach almost 6000 meters.

The success rate of this challenge is well documented at 27%. Each climber aims to raise at least £4000 for the 3 charities of the SPF, the Christie Hospital, Try Assist and the Oxford Transplant Foundation.

The event is very kindly sponsored by the Manchester based Spectrum Group, a leading supplier of support services in the industrial sector.

Adrian Morley said.' I am really looking forward to this unique challenge by testing myself in a totally different way.'

Martin Blondel on behalf of the SPF said ‘It was Steve's wish to tackle Kilimanjaro! We are elated that we have so many personalities willing to carry Steve's name and legacy to the summit. And to have a world record attached to the SPF would be truly incredible and hopefully bring more awareness of the foundation to the masses’

The party will be led by SPF committee member Ade Cunliffe who was one of a party of twelve who climbed to the summit of Kilimanjaro, in our 2013 challenge.

Below, is the team assembled to take on this huge challenge. Take a moment to read about them and support them, on what will become a “WORLD RECORD” setting challenge.

A recent partnership between the Steve Prescott Foundation (SPF) and Accord Wills of St Helens has seen the recent donation of a very generous £1035 to the SPF.  Accord Wills offer a free Wills advice surgery at their offices on Ormskirk Street, St Helens  on Wednesday  between 1030 and 1700. Home visits can also be arranged. Proceeds from all Wills made are donated to the SPF.

On the 15th December, we the SPF were honoured to play a small part in supporting Team Chocolate Orange set up by one of the nicest gentleman Chris Lamb who you will ever meet!

Choc Orange day was inspired by the passing of his son Elliot who sadly passed away at the tender age of Four.

St Helens Recycling Rewards has raised £10,000 for four local charities who received their donations at the Town Hall on Wednesday 7th December, as part of a drive to encourage St Helens residents to waste less and recycle more.

The Steve Prescott Foundation along with the generosity of SPF Charity sponsor SolarKing and great supporters St Helens RFC and leading player Jordan Turner have teamed up to give a fan the opportunity to win the Ultimate Saints Xmas Present.

Jordan has kindly donated his warm up top from the successful 2014 Grand Final, this carried the inspirational name of Steve Prescott on the back.

St Helens RFC have also gave the opportunity for one lucky fan to place the match ball on the centre circle before the prestigious World Club Challenge match in February at Langtree Park.

The third part of this fantastic prize is from SPF Charity Main Sponsor Solar King who will entertain the winning bidder, with a guest in their hospitality box, situated on the halfway line for the World Club Challenge.

Bidding will start via the @StevePrescott1 Twitter account at 12 noon on Thursday 11th December and will finish at 12 noon on the 18th December. You can also place your bid by contacting Martin Blondel on 07971792859.

The Steve Prescott Foundation would like to thank Jordan Turner, Solar King and St Helens RFC for their help and continued support.

The Steve Prescott Foundation, Willowbrook Hospice, St Helens Parish Church have teamed up with St Helens Council to bring the Santa Dash back to the Town Centre.

Over 150 Santas are expected to line up at Church Square for the 11.00am start.