Epic running and cycling Three Peaks Challenge means target is in sight for Emsworth Verity's Gift fundraiser

AS FOUR exhausted men looked out over the view from Ben Nevis, donations rolled in to boost a fund for Emsworth park’s play area to be revitalised.

Saturday, 22nd August 2020, 7:00 am

Nearly 60 hours of gruelling physical effort saw dedicated supporters of Verity’s Gift take on the Three Peaks Challenge in a way which had only been completed by two groups before them.

George Turner, Philip Robertson, Mike Magill and Nick Slade ran a combined total of nearly 30 miles up each mountain, and cycled more than 400 miles between the peaks in a draining bid to raise thousands of pounds.

George, known as Topsy, spoke to The News about how tough this challenge really was, and how much it means to have raised nearly tens of thousands of pounds in memory of his late wife Verity, who died suddenly aged 33, to revamp the play park she enjoyed with their daughter Harriet, six.

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Supporters of Emsworth charity Verity's Gift completed the Three Peaks Challenge by running up each mountain and cycling between them. Pictured: Nick Slade, Philip Robertson, Mike Magill and George Turner on top of Ben Nevis

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Topsy, 48, said: ‘I can’t tell you how bad it was, apart from losing Verity this is the hardest emotional and physical thing for my body. I think we all went through the doldrums at some point but we all bounced back.

‘I couldn’t ask for any more from the boys and the support team. You hit a low point and think “I can’t do it” then you turn a corner and they’re there screaming and shouting.’

With Scafell Pike in Cumbria providing the hardest six-hour climb, and losing their direction along the cycle routes, the team needed all the support they could get from their vital crew of Sarah Slater, Hugh Doyle, Eddie Seabourne and Lisa Saunders, who kept them fed and watered and provided maps when needed.

Supporters of Emsworth charity Verity's Gift completed the Three Peaks Challenge by running up each mountain and cycling between them. Pictured: Nick Slade, Philip Robertson, George Turner and Mike Magill on top of Ben Nevis

Arriving at the top of Ben Nevis, the team looked out over Scotland and reflected on the 13 months of planning and training which had brought them to the end of their epic journey.

Topsy said: ‘It’s 100 per cent elation. All of the emotions of 13 months that I have fought back just came out and the lads were having their little moments. Everything we have wanted to do and at times people have said it’s physically impossible to do, all of that came out and we had done it.

‘I thought about Verity, Harriet and the community which will benefit from what we have been through. It was an awesome feeling of being so tired and emotional but at the same time I just wanted to jump up and down and scream and shout.

Supporters of Emsworth charity Verity's Gift completed the Three Peaks Challenge by running up each mountain and cycling between them. Pictured: The support crew of Sarah Slater, Hugh Doyle, Eddie Seabourne and Lisa Saunders

‘As a charity I’m proud of what we have achieved, I know Verity will be 100 per cent proud of what we have achieved.’

The charity is well on its way to reaching its £100,000 target which is needed for improvements to the popular children’s play area in Emsworth, but they need to collect more before the dream can become reality. To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/verity-s-gift

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Thank you for reading this story. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on our advertisers and thus our revenues.

Supporters of Emsworth charity Verity's Gift completed the Three Peaks Challenge by running up each mountain and cycling between them. Pictured: George Turner, Nick Slade, Mike Magill and Philip Robertson

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