A mountain of a challenge for brave Ian

Ian Richardson and daughter Ava.
Ian Richardson and daughter Ava.

IAN Richardson was up early today.

He had a bit of a busy day ahead.

Chris Cordner found out why the Hartlepool businessman was getting ready for the charity challenge of a lifetime.

“REALITY has just set in,” said Ian Richardson as he got ready for today’s tasks.

It was pretty simple really.

Climb 4,000ft up Ben Nevis, come back down again in minus 10 degree Fahrenheit conditions and winds of up to 65mph.

Then get a good night’s sleep before climbing 3,000ft up Helvellyn tomorrow.

For Wednesday, his timetable reads: “Climb both Scafell and Scafell Pike – each at around 3,000ft.”

And to top it all, there was the little matter of tackling Mount Snowdon on Thursday and its 3,500ft peak.

It is going to be tough, but Ian says he has all the motivation he needs to keep going.

In August last year a smash claimed the lives of his wife Joanne, 40, and eldest daughter Mya, aged six.

In the wake of the tragedy, Ian had the portraits of Joanne and Mya tattooed across his shoulder blades and back so that he knows his wife and youngest daughter will be doing “The Big Yomp” with him.

They will be with him in spirit and that is a massive driving force for Ian.

“I will focus on Jo and Mya and the emotion is going to carry me through. I will focus on the two I have lost and on Ava. Hopefully in years to come and when Ava is older, she can look back and say ‘my dad did this for my mum and my sister’ and hopefully she will be proud of me.”

It’s hard enough for most people but Ian is still building up his strength after a road accident in which he suffered four smashed ribs, a popped rib cage, a bruised lung and heart, whiplash, and broken toes.

You begin to get an idea of the scale of the task.

Ian’s youngest daughter Ava, now 11 months, was uninjured in the accident.

Ian said: “When a friend of mine hatched the plan for this mountain challenge, it was months away and it was a distant pipe dream. Now it is reality.

“But I won’t forget the fact that, eight months ago, I couldn’t walk around the block.”

Ian is fundraising for two charities.

The money raised will be split between the Royal Marines Charitable Trust, and a memorial fund for Joanne and Mya which will help support children who have lost loved ones.

Joining Ian will be Marc Dickson, a serving Corporal with 40th Commando Royal Marines, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan in May 2010. Also yomping up five mountains will be Dave Robson, Richie Defty, Johnny Armstrong and Keith Jackson.

Ian said: “All of the team are paying their own expenses and for their kit as well as taking the time off work.”

Ian, who runs a marketing and communications business on the Queens Meadow estate in Hartlepool, added: “If we can change other people’s lives through this, then I can turn this negativity around and create something positive so that Joanne and Mya’s lives won’t have been lost in vain.”

There are two ways to give your support.

l Sponsor the men online at www.joandmya.co.uk.

l Join them when they return as they will be joining friends and family on a mini yomp up Roseberry Topping from 10am on Saturday, April 16. More details on that can also be found at www.joandmya.co.uk.