At the summit of Slieve Donard

On Saturday, 15th October, just before 12 noon a group of ten exhausted men led by Barry Williamson from Tandragee reached the bottom of Slieve Donard after accomplishing their 4 peaks in 48 hours challenge. It was a physically, mentally and emotionally draining two days but in the end Barry and his team conquered their mountains!

Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in England, Ben Nevis in Scotland and finally Slieve Donard here in Northern Ireland – all completed on schedule.

Barry decided some three months ago that he wanted to find a way to celebrate and honour the memory of his late wife, Alison (age 31), who died in May of this year from a rare form of blood cancer. At the same time he wanted to make a difference in the lives of other people particularly those suffering from cancer and to do it in Alison’s name. The 4 peaks challenge seemed the perfect way to achieve his goal and so he enlisted the help of his two brothers, Lee and Paul, cousin Mark, and six friends who all spent the last twelve weeks training for their mammoth task. Barry was keen that they would do the challenge to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI which is the only charity in Northern Ireland solely dedicated to fighting blood cancers.

Barry thought that he was being optimistic at setting his sights on raising £20,000 – he has now more than smashed his original target by raising more than double his original projected sum. Over £43,000 has now been donated to Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI in memory of Alison.

Barry said, “I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from people right across Northern Ireland and indeed around the world! People have been so very, very, kind and generous and I know that the money will help fund much needed research into better treatment for blood cancers. Hopefully one day they will also find a cure. From the very bottom of my heart I want to say a very sincere thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way and all who have given me the encouragement to keep going. I know Alison would have been thrilled at the amount raised”.

The rector of Ballymore, Canon Shane Forster, where Barry is a parishioner, said “Barry is the most amazing individual who despite his own personal pain and sorrow has focused his mind over these last number of months on finding a way to help those in Northern Ireland suffering from blood cancer. His late wife, Alison, was a truly inspirational and courageous young woman and she faced her illness with faith and determination. She never gave up and always remained positive about life. Barry has managed to draw on her courage and strength, to climb his mountains and raise this record breaking amount of money in such a short space of time. In Ballymore, we are all so very proud of Barry and everything that he has achieved and I know how proud Alison would have been of him too.”



At the summit of Ben Nevis


At the summit of Scafell Pike


At the summit of Snowdon


What a team !