TWO sisters from Derby have paid tribute to their ‘outdoors-loving’ Grandad and the care given to him by a Derbyshire end-of-life charity after climbing the three biggest peaks in the UK.
Eighteen-year-old Chessie and Georgia Guy (25) spent six months training for the Three Peak Challenge – conquering Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Mount Snowdon in Wales – and have raised over £1,500 for Treetops Hospice, in Risley.
In total, they climbed 10,052 feet with Ben Nevis – at 1,345 metres – the highest.
Georgia, a teacher, said that spending time outdoors helped them both with the grieving process as they prepare for their first Christmas without grandad Ken, who was diagnosed with cancer on Christmas Eve 2020.
“We chose the Three Peaks because it was something we knew would be a real challenge.
“Chessie and I would spend every weekend in training for the Three Peak Challenge and being outdoors, appreciating nature and spending quality time together, helped with the grieving process.
“Ben Nevis was the hardest climb, but the most rewarding – we still can’t believe we managed it. Scafell Pike was less physically strenuous, but the navigation and terrain were tricky. Snowdon was the most straightforward – however, the fact that it was our third mountain made it really tough. Poor Chessie’s feet were in bits, but she pushed through.
“Our grandad loved walking and fresh air, so it seemed fitting for us to do this in his memory.”
It was two weeks before Christmas when the Guy family, from Alvaston, received the news that their treasured grandad, Ken, had been taken to hospital with what appeared to be an upset stomach.
Still an active member of his local gym, Ken was a fit man who regularly went out for long walks with his wife, Wendy, at the weekend. They would often drive 200 miles to visit picturesque countryside which they would both enjoy.
The run-up to Christmas, during the Coronavirus pandemic, was a particularly hard time to be in hospital. Restrictions at the time made it hard for the family to be near Ken and Wendy but they did everything they could to provide the emotional support needed to get him on the road to recovery. All the family wanted was for him to be allowed a one-day ‘break’ from the regulations to be with his family on Christmas Day.
Then, on Christmas Eve, the family were given the news that Ken had terminal cancer and was unlikely to see in the New Year. He was sent home to spend his final days with Wendy who he had been married to for 61 years.
Treetops provided the Guy family with nursing care through their Hospice at Home service. Georgia says that she is grateful that Ken was given the chance to ‘live his final days in peace, comfort and surrounded by love.’
“Being told to prepare for grandad’s death was awful and I personally felt bitter. I felt as though I had been robbed of the last year of his life, due to Covid.
“We were, though, extremely grateful for the support provided by Treetops. Their skill and compassion is something that we will forever be grateful for; they helped grandad when he needed it the most and helped granny, my auntie and dad to manage and understand the situation.
“We were – and still are – so lucky.”
Ken died in January 2021 aged 84.
“Grandad’s illness and death were completely unexpected and our whole family struggled to come to terms with it, particularly combined with covid anxieties.
“We have so many fond memories, though, of our fun-loving grandad. He loved to sing and pretend to tap dance in the kitchen; he’d always ask us to secretly bring him biscuits without granny noticing and his infectious smile and sense of humour were warming.
“Grandad would always be ready and willing to help us, no matter what we needed.
“Treetops supported us all during the most awful time. They provide a vital service to ensure that other families and patients receive the care and support they deserve, like my grandad. It was important to us to give back.”
Those who would like to fundraise for Treetops Hospice should contact Cheryl Morris on 07741 854189 or head to the Treetops website for more information: www.treetops.org.uk.