A GRANDFATHER-OF-SIX is preparing to scale three peaks to raise more than £2,400 for charity.
Mervyn France, 72, of Llanbadoc, near Usk, will take on the Blorenge, Skirrid and Sugarloaf Mountains, near Abergavennny on March 1 in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, the chosen charity of 41 Club in Cwmbran.
Mr France has been training hard for the 16-mile walk over the past seven months and hopes to complete the hike, which includes an ascent of 5,000feet, within nine hours.
The keen walker is chairman of the 41 Club, an organisation made up of former Round Table members, and is walking in memory of his late-friend Geoff Maynard who passed away fromOesophageal cancer in September.
The retired Insurance-Loss Adjuster has so far raised over £2,400 on his Just Giving page.
He said: “Even at my age I wanted to do something physically challenging to help 41 Club raise money and awareness of the vital work that Macmillan do, not only in South Wales but across the UK.”
“After the loss of my friend it made me realise how important it is to support the charities that help our loved ones.”
“ I have chosen a project of some difficulty to make me feel better about asking donors to make some sacrifice and, when the going gets tough, it reminds me of how much tougher it is for Macmillan patients. This project has been invested with great poignancy since the death from cancer of our colleague and friend, Geoff Maynard and I shall be walking with him very much in mind.”
Mr France, who will also take on the official South Wales Three Peaks challenge on March 29, completed a practice-run on Sunday in tough conditions due to the weather.
He said: "The fields were waterlogged, footpaths were blocked by fallen trees and the top of the Blorenge is a peat bog but I am determined to complete the challenge whatever the weather."
Julia Shaw, fundraising manager for Gwent, said: I am so impressed with Mervyn’s commitment and drive to succeed in his challenge. His efforts are making a difference to people fighting cancer in Gwent.”