Family take on huge three peaks test

Helen Hicks and her family.
Helen Hicks and her family.

To mark her husband’s 50th birthday, Helen Hicks asked him and the family to pull on their walking shoes and prepare to climb the three highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales.

The Boston mum was motivated to take up the challenge for Alzheimer’s Research UK, after hearing about the devastating impact of dementia.

The adventure which took place on Saturday, saw the family tackle the three highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales – Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough – all in less than 12 hours.

It came as her employer Foresters Friendly Society’s formed a year-long partnership with the UK’s leading dementia research charity.

Helen, 52, who works as secretary for Forester’s Sutterton and Spalding branches, was joined by husband Bruce Hicks, 50, their son Tom, their daughter Charlotte, and Charlotte’s partner, Matt Lenton.

Unfortunately, Charlotte had to pull out after the first peak following medical advice given after she developed a blister – partner Matt joined her to take care of her.

The rest of the family completed the climb in 11 hours and 53 minutes.

Prior to heading out on the challenge, she said: “I’ve wanted to do this for years, and when I turned 50 we talked about completing this challenge as part of a list of things to do in my 50th year.

“We didn’t get around to it then, but when Bruce turned 50 the idea came back to me, so I signed us all up as a birthday surprise for him.

“It’s now dawning on us what a big challenge it is! There aren’t many hills where we live, so it’s not easy to train, but we have been out for some practice hikes in the Lincolnshire Wolds to help us prepare.

“Initially we were just doing this for the personal challenge, but when the charity partnership was announced at Foresters’ annual general meeting, there was a presentation about the impact of dementia and it really affected me.

“Before that, I hadn’t realised that Alzheimer’s disease affects people so severely. Like many people I’d thought it was just a bit of memory loss, but now I know that it’s much more than that. I’m pleased that both the Foresters branches I’m secretary for have sponsored us, and if we can raise as much as we can for Alzheimer’s Research UK this challenge will be all the more worthwhile.”

Vicky Naylor, corporate partnerships officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “The Yorkshire Three Peaks is a tough challenge, and we couldn’t be more grateful to Helen and her family for scaling these heights for us. The money raised through our partnership with Foresters Friendly Society will be able to provide crucial resources and equipment for our scientists, helping to drive the next breakthrough.”

To sponsor Helen and her family, visit