Without Sir Christopher Ball we would never have started our 10in10 marathon event and raised over £1million for our charity. And yet he’s thanking us for being a ‘haven of kindness and good sense’.
Brathay, for me, has been in turn a challenge, an inspiration, and a haven. I was invited to be a Governor in the 1980s, which was a challenging time and responsibility to hold. But, as I learned about its ideas and courses, I was inspired by the commitment to working with young people through the medium of Outdoor Education. I remember a conference we held there on the topic of the value of OD, at which I had the privilege of speaking in the presence of Prince Charles and talking with him at lunch. I tried to persuade him to enjoy the fells in the afternoon and offered to take him to a place where he could paint the view. He was tempted for a moment, but said 'Duty calls - I must visit a sewage works before tea.' My reward as a past Chair of Governors was to be given an Honorary Fellowship, which I greatly prize. My wife and I are keen walkers (Pennine Way, Coast to Coast - twice, etc.) and enjoy the fells (Lord's Rake and Foul Crag included!). We often took our children on holiday to the Lakes. We have from time to time visited and stayed at Brathay and love the place. It is haven of kindness and good sense.
After the turn of the century, Brathay's Fellows were invited to suggest ideas for fund-raising to support its splendid work with young people. I had recently graduated from marathon walks (south coast to Scotland) to distance running, and had run my first London Marathon - without coming last! I was interested in the concept of back-to back marathons, completed on consecutive days, and had run the Thames path from the source to Tower Bridge, as a training exercise, in a week: a length equal to seven marathons. My wife wondered if I could do ten in ten days... I brought the idea to Brathay as a possible fund-raiser. The rest is history. I am told that the 10-in-10ers have now raised over a £million. We shall celebrate its twentieth year in 2027. (I shall walk a 10k!)
But the value of Brathay lies in its work with young people, challenging and inspiring them to make their lives worthwhile, to themselves and to others. Long may it continue to fulfil its inspirational mission.
Best wishes to all my friends at Brathay.
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- Share your story - You can tell your story in words, or we can interview and film you, or better still, you can film yourself talking to camera and send us the film to use. Films should be no longer than 60 seconds and we can provide you with a quick easy guide to self-filming if this is something new to you.
Just tell us who you are, what your connection to Brathay is, and how Brathay has changed your life. It need only be a small change, like leading you to new job, finding more self-confidence, climbing a mountain for the first time – whatever your experience has been we want to hear about it!
With your permission, we will publish your story alongside others on our website and social media over the course of 2021.
We hope you are as excited as we are about the prospect of collating 75 unique stories to make 75 successful years!