MEET Des Lally, who has completed an epic challenge to scale Pen Y Fan, southern Britain’s highest peak 365 times in 365 days, raising more than £55,000 for Cancer Research UK and Help for Heroes in the process.
Intrepid Des (43) said: “I was inspired to take up this challenge by my mum and dad who’ve have had three different types of cancer between them, and my dad was in the Army, so that’s the family connection. It’s just something I wanted to do to give a little back.”
Des started the challenge on 26 March 2018 and experienced some highs and lows along the way, including enduring last summer’s heat that led to him having to suspend the challenge for ten days due to heat exhaustion. To complete the challenge on time, he then had to walk multiple times in 24 hours – on one day doing it four times.
The mortgage broker walked in the region of 1, 360 miles and has worn through seven pairs of trainers. He added: “I wanted to do something a bit different and unusual that would raise the profile of the charities – but I wasn’t expecting so many other people to take my personal challenge to their hearts.
“The amount of support I have had both in terms of donations and also people coming to cheer me along and walk with me has been incredible – they have spurred me on to finish the challenge and I am really proud to have raised so much money for two amazing causes.”
On the last day of the challenge the Royal Welsh Fusiliers military band played a fanfare for Des at the top of Pen Y Fan and he was accompanied on his final ascent by his father, 78-year-old Des Lally Snr, who served for 26 years in the Irish Guards in Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Belize and Canada.
Help for Heroes Wales community recovery manager Shelley Elgin praised Des’ efforts: “Des epitomises the spirit of our amazing supporters, going above and beyond to give something back to armed forces personnel who have put their lives on the line for us.
“The work we deliver to support those whose lives are affected by their military service wouldn’t be possible without people like Des giving their time so selflessly. We are very grateful.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Des’ challenge can do so at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DesLally