Midlothian trio scale heights for charity

Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis

Alice Stevenson, Greg Playfair and Michael Christianson, all from Midlothian, are taking on their toughest challenge yet – the Fourtitude Challenge for Mental Health UK.

The trio, together with more than 60 colleagues from Lloyds Banking Group, will be taking on the Fourtitude Challenge with the ambition of raising £250,000 for Mental Health UK.

They will be tackling a mental agility challenge to test their resolve, hiking the 1,344 metres of Ben Nevis, cycling 100 miles and completing a half marathon, all over the course of four days. The challenge was named ‘Fourtitude’ to reflect that one in four people experience mental health problems, and that the fearless colleagues will be completing the gruelling challenge within four days and starting in four teams – one from each home nation.

This demanding mental and physical challenge is in aid of Lloyds Banking Group’s two year charity partnership with Mental Health UK, a key part of the group’s commitment to help Britain prosper. The partnership aims to promote awareness of the link between mental health and money problems, encourage discussion between customers and colleagues and raise at least £2 million per year to launch a Mental Health and Money Advice Service.

Greg, Alice and Michael are particularly motivated for the Fourtitude challenge as they have each either experienced mental health problems or seen the effects of them first hand. This is sure to give them the extra push they need to complete this gruelling challenge. Each of the trio have previously raised money for charity through physical challenges and their experience will stand them in good stead and make them invaluable members of their team.

From September 4 to 7, the 60 fearless Fourtituders will set off in four teams – one from each of the home nations. On day one they will start with the ‘Mental Agility’ challenge, followed by the ‘Step by Step’ challenge on day two as they ascend the highest mountain in their respective countries: Scotland – Ben Nevis at 1,344 metres, Wales – Snowdon at 1,085 metres, England – Scafell Pike at 978 metres, and N Ireland – Slieve Donard at 849 metres.

The third day will see the four teams join together to take part in ‘The Long Road’ cycling challenge, which consists of 100 miles cycling across hilly Peak District roads. On day four, participants will set off before dawn to take part in the ‘Out of the Dark’ challenge, consisting of a half marathon along the Birmingham canal towpaths, ending in central Birmingham.

Greg said: “I have been wanting to get back into sport and improve my fitness so this challenge seemed the perfect opportunity to do that. I have seen the effects of mental health problems first hand so I think being able to raise money and awareness for Mental Health UK along the way will be a big motivation factor for me.”

Fiona Cannon, Responsible Business and Inclusion director, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “It’s great to see so many Lloyds Banking Group colleagues taking part in the Fourtitude Challenge with determination, stamina and positivity and I wish them the best of luck on what I know will be a tough physical and mental challenge.”

Brian Dow, managing director of Mental Health UK, added: “The partnership between Mental Health UK and Lloyds Banking Group has already produced some fantastic work and initiatives, and this challenge is certainly no exception. This is an incredibly tough challenge, demonstrating colleagues’ whole-hearted commitment to the aims of this partnership.

“They won’t be going it alone because, to show my support, I will also be taking part in the ‘Out of the Dark’ half marathon part of the challenge. I can only imagine how hard it will be to complete the full challenge, and on behalf of Mental Health UK, I want to say a huge thank you to all involved. We are hugely grateful for the awareness and significant funding Fourtitude will generate.”