Melton man inspired by his dad to climb UK’s highest peak

A Melton man was inspired by his father to raise £3,000 for charity by climbing the UK’s highest mountain.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 10:18 am
Lee Freer (right) and Jay Rawlins on their fundraising Ben Nevis climb EMN-210817-100357001

Lee Freer (31) has been fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society because of the support it has given dad, Steve, following his early diagnosis with the disease in 2018 when he was just 58.

Together with 24-year-old friend, Jay Rawlins, they scaled the challenging Scottish peak, which is 1,345 metres above sea level.

They had planned a big fundraiser in 2020 until the coronavirus pandemic took hold and were eager to crack on with it when restrictions eased this year.

Lee Freer (left) and Jay Rawlins on their fundraising Ben Nevis climb EMN-210817-100409001

Lee told the Melton Times: “I wanted to do something to focus on for the year and my good friend, Jay, offered to get involved as well, so we decided to go big and go straight for the Ben Nevis challenge, with no previous trek experience at all.

“And with lockdowns maintaining until April/May time we had no chance to get further than the local vicinity to get stuck into the real purposeful training.

“This made for some very tough going in the trek, itself, in parts, but having both of us there kept us going and our focus for why we were doing it kept us strong and determined to get to the top to ensure we achieved our goal and rewarded everyone that believed in us.”

Local businessman Lee, who is chair of Melton BID, thanked companies for their sponsorship of the Ben Nevis fundraiser and the ‘amazing generosity’ of people who had donated money, despite the financial pressures caused by the pandemic.

The view on Ben Nevis during Lee and Jay's fundraising climb EMN-210817-100420001

The thouands of pounds raised is well above expectations and will be welcomed by the charity as it supports sufferers, their carers and their families.

“The pandemic massively hit sufferers of Alzheimer’s and dementia with lockdowns and restrictions and hindered routines and freedoms to get out and do some of the most basic of activities and be around people and friends - we have seen this firsthand and raising the funds will help to provide further support before normality fully returns,” explained Lee.

Steve raised £4,000 for the charity two years ago when he reformed his old junior football team to take on a select XI in a charity match in Melton.

He is welll known in the Melton sporting fraternity, after managing junior teams at Waltham and at Asfordby Amateurs and being a stalwart of Frisby, Hoby and Rotherby Cricket Club for more than 30 years alognside stints with Melton Mowbray and Thorpe Arnold.

The view on Ben Nevis during Lee and Jay's fundraising climb EMN-210817-100431001

A Leicester City FC season ticket holder, Steve enjoyed working with Foxes legends Robbie Savage and Steve Walsh on a promotional film for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Lee added: “Dad’s early onset diagnosis of Alzheimer’s was a big shock and life changing for both him and our family.

“Since his diagnosis, the Alzheimer’s Society has been an amazing outlet of support for my parents whenever it is needed.”

Go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bennevistrek-leefreer if you would like to pledge sponsorship towards Lee and Jay’s climbing efforts.

Steve Freer pictured during his fundraising football match for the Alzheimer's Society in 2019 PHOTO PHIL JAMES EMN-210817-100443001

They would like to thank Sign Right Creative, for sponsoring and producing the duo’s trek shirts, and the following sponsors: Duffin Builders Ltd, Atterbury Payne Solicitors, House & Home Bespoke Estate Agents, Scholes Wealth Management, Omni Lifestyle, Cotswold Wills Ltd and Cotswold Mortgage Solutions Ltd.

Steve Freer (left) pictured in 2019 taking part in a campaign to raise awareness of dementia with Helen Whittington, of the Alzheimer's Society, and former Leicester City FC skipper, Steve Walsh EMN-210817-101231001
Steve Freer's fundraising football match for the Alzheimer's Society in 2019 PHOTO PHIL JAMES EMN-210817-100454001
Steve Freer pictured during his fundraising football match for the Alzheimer's Society in 2019 PHOTO PHIL JAMES EMN-210817-100504001