A LLANERFYL farmer and his fellow family members have achieved a remarkable fundraising feat of climbing nine of the UK's highest peaks in less than 72 hours for a rural mental health charity.

Matt Launder, and his brother Dan and brother-in-law George Collins battled through tough weather conditions during the three-day challenge starting at Ben Nevis on Thursday, June 13, and ending on Pen y Fan surrounded by more than 60 friends, family and supporters to cap the achievement on Sunday, June 16.

They exceeded their fundraising target and raised more than £11,500 for the DPJ Foundation - the largest amount that the charity has received in one go. During the final climb in the Brecon Beacons, the group received an anonymous £4,000 donation.

The team scaled Ben Nevis, Ben Macdui, Ben Braeriach, Helvellyn, Old Man of Coniston, Scafell Pike, Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan in around 70 and a half hours, only sleeping briefly as fellow brother-in-law Gareth Owen transported them between peaks.

“I’m feeling overwhelmed but very proud," Matt said.

"I feel that we’ve really achieved something for the industry and for people who work tirelessly to help others.

“I think the one thing that I’d take from this challenge has been that when I was feeling down and struggling I could lean on those three lads, there was someone I could go to for support and to talk to. So I think that’s the message is that sharing and talking about how you feel can really help.”

County Times:

Gareth Owen, from Llangadfan, who was in charge of the logistics for the challenge and transported the team between mountains, said: “Mathematically we knew it was possible to complete the challenge in 72 hours. Seeing whether it was physically possible within the 72 hours was a huge part of the appeal of the challenge because it was an unknown quantity. We wanted to push the boundaries and that’s why Matt decided to do the challenge because we didn’t know if it was actually achievable.”

At £37 per session, the money raised will be able to fund more than 310 sessions so that a farmer can receive mental health support from the DPJ Foundation.

Founder of the DPJ Foundation, Emma Picton-Jones said: “The team has raised a huge amount of money – the largest amount anyone has raised for us in one go – but they’ve also done an amazing job of starting a conversation about mental health in the farming community and raising awareness across the country.

“To have a young farmer like Matt raising the profile of this issue has been absolutely massive for us as a charity. They’re a really nice group of lads who truly believed in the cause. We’re so grateful for everything they have done.”

The group would like to thank all sponsors and supporters for their backing in the lead up to and during the challenge.

  • You can still sponsor Matt, Dan, George and Gareth for their successful completion of the 9 Peaks Challenge here: https://uk.gofundme.com/9-peaks-in-3-days-for-mental-health-in-farming.