A team of six employees from Ernst & Young are back from the Himalayas having experienced a challenge of a lifetime as well as raising a substantial sum of money for charity.
A seven day 320 km circular race by mountain bike, foot and raft across a small section of this barren part of the world, the Ernst & Young team found it one of the toughest challenges they had ever encountered.
Having undergone a strict 15-week training programme to test endurance, build stamina and prepare them mentally, the group, Margo Bourcier, Tim Nicolle, Greg Francis and Nicola Clelland from the firm’s Guernsey office and Carrie Atkinson and Michael Thomas from the Jersey office, met up at Heathrow with the other participants. The party, 37 in total, then embarked that same day on a 15-hour flight to Kathmandu via Doha.
After an evening’s briefing the teams (seven in total) were up at 5 am the following day to catch another short flight from Katmandu to Pokhara where they were driven to a remote village to pick up their mountain bikes for day one of the challenge. Here they faced an enormous 1,592m climb up a rough road to Sarangkot taking the Ernst & Young team some five hours to conquer.
Miss Bourcier, senior marketing executive said; “This was the steepest hill we had ever seen. It was like trying to cycle up the greatest Val des Terres but at least a hundred times as long and steep.”
With the support of local Sherpas to help carry their overnight kit, each team spent the next six days racing across this mountainous terrain through villages, enduring huge climbs, adrenaline pumping rapids and basic sleeping arrangements under canvas.
Each evening the teams were also set a variety of challenges in order to gain some additional points.
Even though the Channel Island team’s initial aim was to just complete the challenge, it soon became apparent that there was a strong competitive element to the race.
By day six, they were lying in a comfortable third place but the final day’s challenge got the better of them as disappointingly another Ernst & Young team from London, overtook them pushing them into fourth position.
The Himalaya Action Challenge was a new fundraising event created by The Prince’s Trust with each participant having to raise £3,500 for the charity. Before leaving for the Himalayas the Ernst & Young team had managed to raise a total of £19,000.
On the team’s return to help them reach their target of £21,000, one of the Guernsey team members, Tim Nicolle managed to secure four renowned comedians from the UK; Terry Saunders, Jo Caulfield, Simon Munnery and Miles Jupp, for the “Kings of Comedy” evening at Beau Sejour. With 350 people in the audience they managed to raise enough money to reach their target.
“We received tremendous support from our colleagues and the firm contributed to our registration fee and kick-started our fundraising which was wonderful. We would also like to thank all firms who supported us by donating either raffle prizes or team sponsorship which was extremely generous,” said Miss Bourcier.
Ernst & Young Partner, Chris Matthews was extremely impressed with the team’s achievement.
“Ernst & Young actively encourages its staff to undergo charitable and community work and it is great to see this young group grab this opportunity and run with it with such enthusiasm and commitment.
“Not only did they have to prepare themselves for the challenge both physically and mentally, but they also had to dedicate a huge amount of time and effort outside working hours to raise £21,000. They have certainly proved their drive to succeed in what looks like an extremely tough challenge.”
About The Prince’s Trust
The Prince’s Trust is a youth charity that helps change the lives of young disadvantaged people between the age of 14 and 30. It gives practical and financial support, developing key workplace skills such as confidence and motivation working principally with those who have struggled at school, have been in care, in long-term unemployed or have been in trouble with the law.
The Prince of Wales’s charity has helped more than 60,000 young people since 1976 and supports over 100 more each working day. More than three in four young people The Trust helped last year moved into work, education or training.