More than £26,000 raised in Rory's memory
PUBLISHED: 14:52 01 July 2011
THE strength of feeling for an inspirational teenager has been shown across Lowestoft and East Anglia - as more than £26,000 has been raised for charity in just over five months.
Ever since 15-year-old Rory Davies passed away in March, after bravely fighting against brain and spinal cancer for more than a year, hundreds of people in Suffolk and Norfolk have rallied round to raise money in his memory.
Thousands of pounds have been pledged to back Rory’s dad, Andy, and his Clays team, in their bid to complete the Three Peaks Challenge, which took place a fortnight ago.
And having completed the challenge, Mr Davies said: “I anticipate when all the donations are in we will hit £26,000-plus, which is fantastic.”
This amazing amount has been boosted by the biggest individual sum from Rory’s former classmates, pupils and staff at Benjamin Britten High School – who, with new headteacher Andrew Hine present – handed over a “staggering” £7,225 cheque to Mr Davies and his youngest son Max last Friday.
And with all the money going to the Teenage Cancer Trust, Mr Davies told The Journal: “I had to do the easy bit and complete the challenge – to raise more than £26,000 has seen everyone work extremely hard. All of Rory’s friends and classmates supported him throughout his illness and it is fitting they are all here today.”
Admitting that the initial target was to reach £5,000, Mr Davies added: “The response from the whole community has been fantastic.”
A whole range of events at the high school in Blyford Road, mostly organised by the students themselves, has seen gigs, football matches, non-uniform days, sponsored silences and wristbands made in memory of Rory all being sold and taking place in the past few months to raise funds.
And with Mr Davies admitting this was “the single biggest cheque” collected, teacher Katrina Dutton paid tribute to the pupils.
“A lot of the students wanted to do something to help and they all came up with their own ideas – we, the staff, just put it all together,” she said.
Reflecting on the Three Peaks Challenge, Mr Davies revealed the team actually ran the final 200m in order to finish in time - after getting stuck in traffic held them up on the way.
“We just made it in 23hrs 59mins 8 seconds,” he said.
After making an “early start” on Friday June 17, with a long drive to Fort William, the weather on arrival was “slightly overcast” but the summit conditions were “not very good.”
“We had all done plenty of training though nothing that East Anglia had to offer in the way of hills could prepare us for Ben Nevis,” Mr Davies said. “With our rucksacks packed, mine containing Rory’s ashes, we set off to conquer the first of the three peaks, but as we reached the summit and the snow it was hard to think the we were attempting this in June!
“Visibility was down to 50m with strong, bitterly cold winds and hailstones.” A quick summit photo and toast to Rory from their hip flasks followed before starting the descent.
“Once down there is no time to dwell over how it went, the clock was ticking and with a long drive to the next challenge of Scafell Pike we set off,2 he said.
Arriving at 4am with rain, mist and the firsts signs of daylight, the team were soon off and quickly became aware that although this was the “smallest of the three peaks” the combination of little sleep and the prospect of another to do “after this one” hit all the team.
“The relentless climb, the loose rocks all meant we had to concentrate extremly hard on both ascent and descent to avoid injury,” he admitted. “Next we were off to Wales for the final Peak, unfortunatley being Saturday morning meant that there were lots of people out on the roads that frankly unbeknown to them were delaying us in acheving our goal!”
Evetually making to Mount Snowdon to be greeted with “some sunshine at last,” Mr Davies added; “But once we reached the halfway point we were back in a our usual cloud, mist and cold winds. We reached the summit in good time, faster than our practice run we had done a few months earlier.
“A final summit photo and toast before we started the descent, it was at this point I like to think that Rory treated us all to the view we had missed at all the other summits, which lifted us and put an extra spring in our step.
“With 200m to the finish line we knew time was tight, so many other people have tried and failed this challenge so we decided to run in. Just as well we did, we done it..well only just in a time of 23hrs 59mins 8 secs!!”
Cue celebrations, a well earned “bottle of fizz” and an evening spent “relaxing and talking” about “what we should do for our next team challenge” before the journey home.
“It is without doubt one of the best achevements undertaken by the whole team for such a worthwhile charity,” Mr Davies added. “The people of Lowestoft and all those from across the country who have donated have done somthing truly amazing – thank you all so much.”
The team is already looking to make it an annual fundraising event for the charity, with a possible bike trek to Paris already being mooted for next year.
l You can still donate online at www.teenagecancertrust.org/get-involved/as-a-fundraiser/fundraisers/clays-3-peak-challenge-team/