Duo to take on cycling and climbing challenge in aid of two charities

From left, Luke Westoe, Alan Shearer, Karen Verrill (centre head at Maggies) and Darren Purvis.
From left, Luke Westoe, Alan Shearer, Karen Verrill (centre head at Maggies) and Darren Purvis.

As well as getting on his bike, a Morpeth man will be climbing the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales for good causes in memory of a friend and colleague.

Andrew Grounsell, a talented architect from Newcastle, died in October, aged 54.

Along with friend Darren Purvis, from Birtley, Gateshead, Morpeth resident Luke Westoe will attempt to reach the summits of what are known as the three peaks – Ben Nevis in Scotland (1,345m), Snowdon in Wales (1,085m) and Scafell Pike in England (978m).

Not only that, The Andrew Grounsell Challenge involves the duo cycling to and from each mountain. This means they will cycle more than 1,000 miles.

The husband and father-of-two faced bowel cancer for two years and his bravery and positivity have inspired Luke and Darren to raise funds for Maggie’s and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

All three worked together at Space Architects in Newcastle.

Alan Shearer, a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, recently met the pair to find out more about their fund-raising.

He said: “Luke and Darren really have their work cut out with this challenge.

“Having done a bit of cycling myself, I know how tough it can be. The idea of having to climb the three peaks on top of all those miles does not sound like fun at all – I take my hat off to them.

“I wish them both the very best with their training and fund-raising and I hope everything goes as planned.”

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation funds projects within the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that directly benefit cancer patients in the North East and Cumbria and which also contribute significantly to international research into the disease.

Maggie’s provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.

The Andrew Grounsell Challenge will begin on August 25 and, all being well, it will end on September 2.

They will start from Newcastle and cycle to Wales for the Snowdon climb. The next stage involves going to the Lake District National Park for Scafell Pike.

It will get even tougher for Darren and Luke in the next section of the challenge to, and then up, Ben Nevis in the Lochaber area of Scotland.

The final leg of their journey back to Newcastle will go through Edinburgh and Bamburgh, among other places.

As an architect, Andrew designed many outstanding buildings throughout his career.

Key projects included Cramlington Learning Village and Durham Gateway for Durham University. There are also what his colleagues describe as ‘small masterpieces’ such as the Key in Science Central near St James’ Park, the Graham Sports Centre at Maiden Castle and 19 Close House at Heddon-on-the-Wall.

Darren said: “Andrew was amazing in the way he dealt with his illness.

“He continued to carry on with life as normal and you never heard him complaining about his illness.

“Maggie’s was a place that he and his wife Jo used to go to seek advice and to take time out during treatments and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation also felt like a fitting charity because Andrew had been due to go on to a drugs trial just before he died.

“We hope we can do Andrew and both charities proud.”

You can follow the build-up and their progress during the Andrew Grounsell Challenge on Twitter (@AG_Challenge) and Facebook.

To make a donation, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/agchallenge