On Friday evening, 240 determined hikers climbed South Wales’ highest peak to tackle the Brecon Beacons Night Hike. This special event was held in memory of last year’s youngest participant, Tom Walker.
Tom was a quiet, considerate and caring boy from Devauden in Monmouthshire, aged 13. Tom sadly passed away in June 2018, after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
Less than three months before he died, and before he knew he had leukaemia, Tom raised several hundred pounds for Cancer Research Wales, in sponsorship for taking part in the Brecon Beacons Night Hike. Tom was the youngest of 82 participants to take on the 2018 challenge, which took place in cold and wet conditions, at the tail-end of the ‘Beast from the East’.
This year, alongside JT Expeditions, Cancer Research Wales and supporters have re-traced Tom’s footsteps to the top of Pen Y Fan, with nearly triple the amount of hikers!
Tom’s youngest sister Emily gave a brave and inspiring speech, to welcome the participants and to remind them of her brother’s achievement last year. Shortly after sunset, with their red beanie hats (Tom’s favourite colour), the group set off from Pont ar Daf car park; climbing up to near the summit of Corn Du via Storey Arms, before the final hike up to the top of Pen Y Fan.
With fog and mist hovering over the peak, visibility was poor. However, the JT Expeditions team managed the event superbly – guiding every single participant safely up and down the mountain, and back to base for some well-earned refreshments.
The Walker family, at the Pen Y Fan summit.
The amazing team of Night Hikers have together raised over £30,000. The money raised from this event will be used to fund a PhD scholarship, named in memory of Tom; this will cost approximately £100,000, and will focus on acute myeloid leukaemia.
Friends and family have been #RememberingTom with a series of challenges and fundraising events. Tom’s school friends made an attempt to beat the record for the fastest time to row Loch Ness. Over 650 people have collectively swum the length of the River Wye and back. Friends of Tom and their parents have raised funds through selling cakes and lemonade, holding raffles, busking in Monmouth and Cwmbran town centres, sponsoring a whole range of activities, selling Cancer Research Wales merchandise and running a charity car park. With the inclusion of the funds raised from the 2019 Brecon Beacons Night Hike, Tom’s fund now stands at over £80,000.
The event organiser, Mr Dale Evans, from Cancer Research Wales, said: “Well done to everyone who took part in this very special and poignant occasion. The skies over the Brecon Beacons had the company of an extra 240 stars, who came out to remember a wonderful boy whose life shone so brightly and inspired all. Let’s keep the light shining.”
If you would like to make a donation to Tom’s fund, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/BreconBeaconsNightHike2019
You can also visit the event gallery by clicking here. Please note that more images will be added over the next few days.