Thetford lads gear up for Three Peaks Challenge in aid of children’s ward

A group of Thetford men are attempting to complete the Three Peaks Challenge in 24 hours to raise money for the Rainbow Ward at West Suffolk Hospital. (L-R) Stu Clay, Franko Fraize, Darren Clay, Stacy Bramell, Mark Dean, Andrew Keavey, Wayne Harvey, Jody Twomey, Tone Cornwall ANL-150331-144452001
A group of Thetford men are attempting to complete the Three Peaks Challenge in 24 hours to raise money for the Rainbow Ward at West Suffolk Hospital. (L-R) Stu Clay, Franko Fraize, Darren Clay, Stacy Bramell, Mark Dean, Andrew Keavey, Wayne Harvey, Jody Twomey, Tone Cornwall ANL-150331-144452001
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Rising music star Franko Fraize and eight friends from Thetford are taking on a mountainous challenge for West Suffolk Hospital, attempting to complete the national Three Peaks Challenge – including travel time – in just 24 hours.

The idea was dreamt up by the group of school friends during a birthday celebration last year.

After agreeing to travel between and climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales in a single day, the lads decided to use the trip as an opportunity to fund-raise for the hospital’s Rainbow Ward.

Father-of-two Franko said: “When I make music I like to pioneer for the town, and all the kids around here end up at that hospital ward.

“If the cause is on your doorstep, people are more likely to donate even a pound. It’s not about how much or how little you raise, it’s about what can be done with it.

“It wasn’t charity-minded at all at first, but I think we’ve picked the right way to do it. I feel ready for it.”

Fellow participant Mark Dean, 33, said: “It’s something which is close to all of our hearts as we are all young fathers with young children.

“It’s not like a normal ward, the nurses become your friends and understand how you’re feeling.

“We wanted to give the money directly to the person who will benefit most from it. We know 100 per cent will go the ward and they can spend it on what they choose.”

The intrepid climbers plan to set out up Ben Nevis at 5pm on June 17, aiming to travel through the night and arrive at Scafell Pike at 4am to make the most of the daylight for their last two climbs.

Mark, who works at a stud in Newmarket, has been training hard for the task, working out at RaceFit in Newmarket’s Racing Centre and shedding pounds in the process.

The Juddmonte Stud has already donated £500 and another few hundred pounds was raised by items at 
West Suffolk Hospital’s Christmas charity auction, including signed boxing equipment and a tour around Sir Michael Stoute’s horse-training yard.

“There’s a lot of support within Thetford, it’s a real show of community spirit,” said Mark.

Collection boxes have been placed in the Green Dragon pub, Ace Tanning and the Style Lounge. Or donate at www.justgiving.com/thetford3peaks