April 30, 2024

Martha Lane Fox begins her Three Peaks Challenge

On Saturday 20 April, the inspiring Martha Lane Fox began her Three Peaks Challenge by climbing Mount Snowdon, accompanied by friends and family.

A leading businesswoman, philanthropist, and public servant, Martha Lane Fox has been a cross bench peer in the House of Lords since March 2013, at which point she was its youngest female member. She is currently President of the British Chambers of Commerce, Chancellor of the Open University, and Chairman of Lucky Voice, a company that she co-founded.

In 2004, Martha was involved in a life-altering car crash. Since then she has had 47 operations and experienced struggles with balance, nerve damage and constant pain, needing two sticks to walk anywhere. Despite these challenges, Martha has challenged herself to climb Britain’s three highest mountains to mark the 20th anniversary of her accident.

Speaking to the Observer about the extent of this challenge, Martha said: “My body is not like other people’s. I have massive pain and continence challenges, and I have very bad nerve damage. So all these things make it quite a significant hurdle to try and walk for a long time, let alone a really long time uphill, and all the way back down again.”

As well as taking on this significant physical challenge, Martha has set herself a truly ambitious fundraising goal: to raise £300,000 for charity. Martha aims to split this money between four organisations, all of which are closely related to her story: Day One, who provide support to help people navigate their recovery from extreme physical trauma; iamtheCODE, who train girls in refugee camps with computer science and digital skills; AbilityNet, who work to ensure that everyone can use digital services, especially people with disabilities; and Horatio’s Garden, who nurture the wellbeing of people with severe spinal injuries in stunning gardens across the UK.

Following a recent visit to Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville with her family, Martha shared some kind words about the charity’s mission and her decision to raise money for Horatio’s Garden: “It was wonderful to see the impact the plants, flowers and garden room were having on the spinal injury patients and their families It is imperative to help and give some joy into the daily life in hospital by supporting Horatio’s Garden.”

Martha began her ascent of Snowdon, also known as Yr Wyddfa, at 8am on Saturday morning. The walk took eight hours, and was especially difficult on the descent. Reflecting on this, Martha wrote in a subsequent blog post: “This descent made me think about the nature of doing hard things. There are no shortcuts. You just have to carry on and break them into manageable chunks. This was as true on Saturday afternoon’s descent as it was when I learnt to walk again after the accident.”

Having completed one-third of her Mountain Mission by successfully climbing Snowdon, Martha has also made leaps and bounds with her fundraising: her total raised currently stands at over £175,000. She plans to ascent England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike, on Monday 6 May, before completing her challenge by tackling Ben Nevis on Saturday 7 September.

We are so grateful to Martha for choosing to raise money for Horatio’s Garden, and are so inspired by her fundraising journey. Please consider donating to Martha’s Mountain Mission here.

You can also read about Martha’s incredible story in The ObserverThe Times, and listen to her in the Tuesday 16 April episode of Off Air with Jane and Fi. To read her full blog post reflecting on the Snowdon climb, click here.

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