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East Midlands Chamber News

Drain Gang in charity climb

Drain Gang - Darren, John, Phil and SimonFOUR colleagues are setting off on a journey of a lifetime with a tough physical challenge to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

John Wilson, Phil Green, and Darren Wood all work for Saint-Gobain PAM UK which is based at Lows Lane, Stanton-by-Dale, near Ilkeston, and Simon Bennett now works for an associate company.

After almost two years of planning they will be swapping the English autumn for tropical Africa where they will be trekking up its highest mountain, Kilimanjaro.

They will fly out to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on September 19 and then go to neighbouring Tanzania and start their seven-day trek on September 21, aiming for a final ascent to the summit on September 26.

After only a day's acclimatisation, the trek will go via the less-travelled but longer Lemosho route up the world's highest free-standing mountain in a bid to reach the 19,341ft summit.

John, 47, sales director, from Neale Street, Long Eaton, said: “We started hill-walking as a group. We enjoyed it so much that we decided it would be great to do something a little more challenging.”

As part of their training, they have trekked all the major UK peaks – Ben Nevis, Snowdon, and Scaffel Pike, as well as across Dartmoor, the Brecon Beacons and the Peak District.

They have also done a number of runs, with three of them doing the Derby 10k over the past two years to build up stamina.

“We have endured all four seasons in one day on the Brecon Beacons and Ben Nevis,” said John.

They have each bought camping equipment and had their fare share of the outdoor life – including pitching tents at Edale in a temperature of minus six degrees to a heavy downpour in Brecon.

“So now we are going to Africa for the sunshine and a once-in-a-lifetime trip to raise money for charity,” said John. “The only thing we can't train for is altitude sickness, which is common for people trekking Kilimanjaro,” said John.

They are known as The Drain Gang because Saint-Gobain PAM UK is one of the world's largest manufacturers of cast iron and ductile pipes, fittings, and access chamber covers for the water, drain and building industries.

The four were hoping to raise £15,000 for four charities, but they have already gathered £15,600 in sponsorship from relatives, friends, and business associates and £1,000 a head from the company.

Money will be raised for Water Aid, because of Saint-Gobain PAM UK's links with the water industry, Help the Heroes, because Darren was in the armed forces, and Breast Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support because they all know somebody who had suffered cancer and is being treated.

“We are trying to see if we can increase the amount raised to £20,000,” John added.

Anyone wanting to donate can do so by http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/draingang

Phil, 43, of Maidwell Close, Belper, is head of technical sales; Simon, 41, of Brunt Lane, Woodville, is a national account manager, and general manager Darren, 47, lives in Weymouth, Dorset.