Women's triumphant triple challenge set to net £15,000 for charity

East Devon's courageous Three Peaks Challenge team

East Devon's courageous Three Peaks Challenge team - Credit: RV-ONE

Twenty East Devon women have completed the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge for Exmouth mental health community group RV-ONE.

The Community Interest Company was founded last year by Exmouth Royal Marine Tom Merriman, 36, a Physical Training Instructor at the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone, and its founding premise revolves around social interaction as a means to boosting mental health.

Through physical training sessions and social meet-ups, despite lockdown, and because of it, the organisation has supported countless people in the community, including many teenagers in recent months.

The Three Peaks Challenge involves participants hiking up the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – in 24 hours. The total walking distance is 23 miles and the total ascent is 3,064 metres.

So far the all-female squad has raised around £11,000, but the total is expected to hit £15,000.

Marnie Pyne, 47, deputy headteacher at Exeter Road Primary School, said: “I’m a 100 per cent believer that mental health is linked with physical health and the work that RV-ONE does in Exmouth is very much needed.

“We’re all becoming more aware of the need to look after our mental health and it’s wonderful to have a resource like RV-ONE in the town.”

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She added: “The Three Peaks was an amazing challenge, both physically and mentally, and I’ve made friends I think I’ll always have.”

Kerri Cooper, 35, a regional account manager from Exmouth, said: “I’ve seen the impact poor mental health can have on my friends and family. For a long time, people haven’t wanted to talk about when they’re suffering mentally. When I was going through a difficult time in my life last year, I didn’t want to talk about it, but when I eventually did, I felt 100 per cent better.

“What Tom has achieved in such a short space of time is amazing; RV-ONE has built a supportive community in Exmouth and it’s having such an impact. I hope it continues to grow.”

She added: “The challenge was unbelievably hard, so to have a support network around you made all the difference.”

The RV-ONE Three Peaks Challenge is set to be the organisation’s flagship annual fundraiser giving people the opportunity to take on the feat fully supported.

The hope is that the funds raised will go towards securing a base to store communal physical training equipment, as well as the kit itself. So far, finding a location has been unsuccessful so the group is appealing for anyone who may be able to help.

Tom, added: “I thought it was going to be easy to find grants to help fund our work, but it hasn’t been, we’ve applied for many, but haven’t been awarded anything so far, which has made fundraisers like this, essential.

“The Three Peaks Challenge is so hard – it’s a mix of fatigue, calorie deficit, blisters and soft tissue injuries – but it’s one of the most incredible challenges out there.

“We want to be able to continue to fundraise for the community while offering people the chance to complete this amazing feat. I’m proud of everyone who took part in our inaugural event.”

To find out about future challenges, as well as for more information about the social meet-ups, visit www.facebook.com/rv.oneuk

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