Solihull man takes on gruelling Lake District challenge age 72 in memory of his nephew - The Solihull Observer

Solihull man takes on gruelling Lake District challenge age 72 in memory of his nephew

Solihull Editorial 3rd Jul, 2022   0

A RETIRED businessman from Solihull is to take on one of the UK’s toughest outdoor charity challenges to help change the lives of people who live with the same severe muscle-wasting condition as his late nephew Mark.

Brian Hopkins aged 72, who retired as MD of Birmingham-based engineering company E C Hopkins Ltd last year, is heading to Penrith, Cumbria to tackle Pedal Paddle Peak 2022 on 2 July to fundraise for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

He and three team colleagues, including his daughter, will compete against others to cycle thirty hilly miles, paddle canoes across Ullswater for two miles and then climb England’s second highest mountain, Helvellyn.

Brian’s nephew, Mark, passed away at just 17 from Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Ever since Mark was diagnosed aged just four Brian has devoted himself to fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy UK to help improve the lives of people with muscle-wasting conditions.

Over the course of several decades, Brian, as chairman of Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Knowle and Dorridge branch, has helped raise a whopping £680,000 for the charity.

“This year will mark the 25th anniversary of Mark’s death so we are taking on Pedal Paddle Peak in his memory and honour,” said Brian.

“It will be fun – which will be a fitting tribute to Mark as he was full of fun and remained cheerful throughout his short life.

“We’ll be a team of four – myself, my daughter Suzanne Williams, 39, who is a physio at Manchester Children’s Hospital; my friend and fellow hockey player Nick Lewis, owner of Penguin Recruitment in Solihull, who is in his 40s; and my elder daughter Samantha’s boyfriend Matt McCloud, 36, an actor and musician.”

Brian has undertaken everything from swimming challenges to door-to-door collections for Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) but Pedal Paddle Peak will be his most challenging yet.

At 72, Brian will also be the most senior of the 130 participants tackling the eight to nine-hour challenge but he is feeling ready:

Brian hopes to raise £4,000 for MDUK alongside his team, known as Knowle and Dorridge.

Kiera Santry, senior challenge events officer at Muscular Dystrophy UK said: “We’re delighted that Brian and his team are taking on Pedal Paddle Peak 2022.

“Brian has been phenomenal in his fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy UK in the last thirty and more years. We applaud him for his unwavering commitment to helping to beat muscle-wasting conditions.

“This year’s event will be the biggest ever and we hope to raise more than £75,000, which will make such a difference to the people and families we support.”

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