Every year, we select a charity to support. This year it’s the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation (OVMRO). The decision came from personal experience of their life saving work by the manager of Fudge Kitchen’s Bath shop, Ian McCluskey.
Back in October 2001, his brother Andy was walking in the Ideal Cirque area in Snowdonia when he tripped. Over a 200ft drop. His face torn apart and his breathing stopped, a passing hero gave him life-saving mouth to nose resuscitation and the OVMRO Sea King helicopter was scrambled. In a hugely dangerous and dramatic manoeuvre, with rota blades whizzing inches from the rocks, he was winched up and taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd, for a long recovery and reconstructive surgery. You can read more about this film-worthy rescue in our previous blog.
“Naturally I owe an awful lot to OVMRO,” reflects Andy. “Without them, I expect I would have died on that ledge; and they rely to a great extent on charitable donations to get the equipment, radios and access to helicopters (which I think is crazy). Without the chopper, the outcome would have been markedly different … the risks they take to protect others, as volunteers, is astounding and something that I think needs more recognition.”
Which is where our fundraising foolery stepped in. In June, the seven shops, in York, Bath, Windsor, Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge and Canterbury, dedicated National Fudge Day to raising funds for OVMRO, creating and selling a limited edition Bara Brith flavour fudge in honour of these Welsh heroes. And in August, two teams raced from Oxford to Windsor – one pair by foot (Ian and Toby, the Bath and Oxford managers) and one by kayak (Windsor manager, Matt and Tia) – gathering sponsorship and blisters over two days and stoking debate over which team would win the Fudge Wacky races.
In spite of a shaky start, involving “a hasty scramble to discover the location of what (I’ve been told) is
quite a large and important river” (says Ian McCluskey of their hunt for the River Thames), four plucky Fudgesmiths finally set off, with the walkers powering ahead at a pace of such over enthusiasm – 60,000 steps in 13 hours – that it would leave them crippled for the second day.
Meanwhile, the paddlers found themselves in constant troubled waters, firstly skulling in ever decreasing circles with a broken fin, followed by a case of near-hypothermia that reduced the team to one very game Matt, who would
eventually end up rowing whilst pumping water from a punctured vessel, resourcefully, if hopefully stuck together by a bike repair kit; before finally having to abandon ship at Henley and catch a train for the final leg to Windsor.
Team Walk’s Ian McCluskey, however, heroically completed the epic 70 mile walk in two days, across 150,000 steps. “In conclusion,” he says, “while not everyone finished the race, we all suffered equally and gave it our absolute best!” Congratulations to all four of them on an incredible feat / feet.
And the important bit? They have raised £1,305.00 for OVMRO so far, with their charity page still open for business at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=fudgeraces&pageUrl=1 Can we get it up to £1,500?!