Friends take on Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for Sue Ryder and awareness of Motor Neurone Disease

Three friends will be tackling the Three Peaks Challenge this weekend hoping to raise much-needed funds for Sue Ryder and vital awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.

Joby and his friends training in the country for the Three Peaks Challenge
Joby, Joe and James training in the Peak District for their Three Peaks Challenge

100 miles and three peaks

Joby Cornwell’s mum, Bel, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) six years ago, when he was just 17. Since then, Joby, now 23, has seen his mum lose the ability to walk and talk and is now determined to make people more aware of the debilitating illness which affects just 5,000 people in the UK. Bel, who has been supported by the expert team at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice since her diagnosis, has recently completed an ambitious 100 mile challenge in her powered wheelchair, raising thousands of pounds for the hospice in the process.

On Friday 11 June, Joby will embark on the national Three Peaks Challenge, aiming to scale Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Snowdon in Wales in the space of just 24 hours. Accompanied by school friends Joe White and James Sheppy, Joby is hoping to add to his mum’s grand fundraising total.

Bel in her powered wheelchair on her 100 mile challenge route
Bel on her challenge route, clocking up the miles and raising vital funds
Bel, with her daughter Letty and son Joby
Bel, with her daughter, Letty, and son, Joby
Joby and his mum, Bel, during their fundraising challenge
Bel on her challenge during the misty morning hours

“This challenge is going to be pretty interesting!”

He said: “I did the Yorkshire Three Peaks last year with a different group of friends and I really enjoyed it. I was pretty tired afterwards, but it was so worth it because the views were stunning and we raised a lot of money for MND.

“This challenge is going to be pretty interesting! I think we’re definitely going to need our waterproofs on Ben Nevis. We are going up to stay up in Scotland on Friday night and set off at about 4am. I’ve been told that’s the best time to leave because it’s all about timing it to be coming back down when it’s not too busy. The first climb will take about six hours, then it’s a five hour drive down to Cumbria, then the drive from Cumbria to Wales will be about four hours.

“It’s going to be really challenging and when we come down from each peak there won’t be any time to rest, so we’re going to split the driving three ways so it’s not all on one person.”

Joby sitting on a stony hillside in the Brecon Beacons

Raising funds and awareness

The trio have completed 16 mile training treks in the Brecon Beacons and the Peak District and in addition to raising funds for Sue Ryder, they hope to create better awareness of the impact MND has on families.

Joby, who is a carpenter, said: “There are only 5,000 people in the UK living with Motor Neurone Disease so people don’t really understand what a horrible illness it is. I was 17 when my mum was diagnosed and it’s been really difficult, but we get by. She’s an incredible person. She used to run half marathons so it’s really frustrating for her, but she will always push herself to do more and she inspires me every day.

“Unfortunately, Mum hurt herself quite badly during lockdown and when that happened the team at Leckhampton Court Hospice really looked after her. I wanted to carry on raising awareness of the outstanding work that Sue Ryder does. The help they have given mum especially has taken much of the worry away from our family. We know that they will always be here supporting us all the way through.”

And the Cornwell family – Bel, Joby and sister Letty - will be taking on one final challenge together when they tackle the nine mile ‘End to End’ route across the Malvern Hills in August.

Find out more information about the palliative, neurological and bereavement support we provide, our hospices and neurological centres or ways you can help to support our work.

Raise funds for Sue Ryder and awareness of MND

Help the Cornwell Family reach their £10,000 target, while supporting Sue Ryder and raising vital awareness of Motor Neurone Disease