Sunderland worker steps up to charity challenge climbing Mount Everest eight times over

Richard Potts, our janitor based at Aldenham Tower, has climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest EIGHT times at Sunderland’s Lakeside Towers, in a bid to raise money for two crucial charities in the city.

Richard’s fundraising effort was inspired by the ongoing modernisation work taking place in tower blocks at Gilley Law, where the lifts in the 17-storey tower blocks were being refurbished, alongside a commitment to stay fit and active during the pandemic. Richard set an ambitious target of climbing up and down the 17 floors 211 times to raise money for the housing association’s corporate charities.

His 211 hikes of the staircases equate to 100,436 steps and 71,740 metres. In comparison, the height of Mount Everest is 8,848 meters. That means Richard has climbed the equivalent of the summit of world’s highest mountain a whopping eight times.  

Last Friday (29 January), he completed his ambitious challenge of climbing 44 miles of stairs, raising an amazing £1,000 for our corporate charities, St Benedict’s Hospice and Action on Dementia Sunderland.

The two charities were voted for by our 1100 employees and last year our workforce raised an amazing £17,000, with £8,500 going to each charity. We recently announced that we are continuing our support for the two charities throughout 2021, following the fundraising challenges that many charities had faced in 2020.

Speaking about his fundraising effort, Richard said: “When modernisation work started on the lifts at Lakeside Towers I realised I was wasting time waiting for the lift and losing time to complete my daily tasks, so I started climbing the stairs instead.

“It was physically challenging to continuously climb the staircases and I noticed that there was an opportunity to set myself a personal challenge of doing 100,000 steps up and down the staircases, while raising money for our charities at the same time.

“It’s been tough - especially on my legs! But I’m over the moon with the money that’s been raised from my colleagues and residents living in the towers and I’m sure it’ll be greatly appreciated by St Benedict’s Hospice and Action on Dementia Sunderland.”

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Gentoo Group, said: “Our colleagues have fully embraced our corporate charities and Richard’s step challenge is a perfect example of how dedicated they are to raising vital funds for the charities in any way they can.

“It’s brilliant to see him raise such a great amount of money in an innovative, COVID-safe way and I’d like to personally thank Richard for his amazing efforts during this challenge.”

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