Lisburn finance expert completes epic challenge

(from left) Mark Larsson, Conall Reilly, Peter Bingham, Jonathan Simpson
(from left) Mark Larsson, Conall Reilly, Peter Bingham, Jonathan Simpson

A Lisburn finance expert has completed a gruelling physical challenge and helped to raise more than £100,000 for charity.

Jonathan Simpson, director of financial services with Belfast wealth management company Johnston Campbell Ltd, led colleagues to complete the Invesco Perpetual Snowdon Challenge last weekend.

(from left) Peter Bingham, Jonathan Simpson, support member Aidan Place, Mark Larsson and Conall Reilly

(from left) Peter Bingham, Jonathan Simpson, support member Aidan Place, Mark Larsson and Conall Reilly

They were one of the few teams to finish the challenge with all members still on board – and raised more than £3,300 for charity.

The team faced whiteout conditions when they tackled three peaks in Snowdonia National Park on September 16 as part of a challenging 27km hike, before embarking on a 50km mountain bike odyssey and a 5km canoe trail - all in the space of two days. They were the only one from Northern Ireland to take part in this year’s Invesco Perpetual Snowdon Challenge, which pits teams from financial institutions against each other in a bid to raise a total of £100,000 for the Youth Adventure Trust.

It took Jonathan and his colleagues almost 12 hours to complete the 27km hike over the Snowdon, Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach mountains on September 16 due to bad weather and a wrong turn in white-out conditions.

Jonathan said: “The top of Glyder Fach is like the surface of Mars, covered in jagged boulders with no landmarks when you can’t see. We were one of a few teams who completed the route with all members. Others had drop outs, two of the 30 teams couldn’t complete at all and three or four teams had to be brought down from the top of Glyder Fach.”

The following day, now placed 13 out of 30 teams, the group cycled 45km through the heights of Snowdonia National Park where some routes were impassable due to rain. One team lost a member to a broken collarbone in a crash.

After the cycle, they completed a 5km canoe trail, finishing 11th out of 30. The overall event was won by London-based Cazenove Capital.

“Wales has been unusually wet for the past two weeks so all the trails, tracks and paths were difficult to traverse. Some parts of the route are unmarked and rely on compass and map reading to find the waypoints. We have enjoyed the experience although we have some bruised and blistered bodies today,” Jonathan said.

“But it was all worthwhile when we were shown the fantastic work Youth Adventure Trust do with the £3,300 raised by Johnston Campbell Ltd. This money allows vulnerable young people to participate in a three-year youth adventure programme.

“We watched a video highlighting one 11-year-old boy who acts as the carer for his disabled mother. He’d had to witness the physical abuse from his father after he was released from prison.

“The work YAT do by taking him away doing outdoor activities in places like Wales allows him to regain his confidence, gives him respite and earn the trust of his peers.

“This work resonated with us at Johnston Campbell and mirrors the work we support such as children’s charities and youth-oriented activities. We feel it’s important to set ourselves a challenge and it’s important to give back into the community,” Jonathan said.

Any donations can be sent via the fundraising page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/johnstoncampbell.