600 brave souls conquered the mud, marsh, rivers, hills and obstacles of Mission: Unbreakable this weekend.Â
North Devon Hospiceâ€™s commando course has become famous for challenges such as â€˜The Sheep Dipâ€™, a fully submerged tunnel crawl, and â€˜Freezing Private Ryanâ€™, where competitors wade through chest-high ice-filled water.Â
After a Covid-enforced absence in 2020, it is hoped the event will raise as much as Â£30,000 in much-needed funds for the hospice, whose fundraising has been severely affected by the pandemic.Â
Mission: Unbreakable took participants on a 10km circular route, with the race HQ based at North Molton Sports Club.Â
The course is designed in conjunction with 2 4 Commando Royal Engineers, based at RMB Chivenor. Â
Among the dozens of obstacles were also a mud crawl under barbed wire, an upstream wade in a river and a leap over raging fire pits.
One of those who conquered the challenge was John Dunkley, from Wollens Solicitors. The law firm were once again the headline sponsors of Mission: Unbreakable and at the finish line John said: â€œWow, that was tough! Some of our team have taken part before, but after a year off we had probably forgotten how challenging it was. It did feel incredibly special to take part in something like this again. Weâ€™ve missed doing things together, so to tackle this for the hospice was amazing. Itâ€™s a great cause and weâ€™re so proud to show our support.â€Â
It was an emotional occasion for friends and family of David Campbell and Keith Regan. Both men had taken part in Mission: Unbreakable before, but each have sadly passed away since the previous event in 2019 and were supported by the hospice throughout their illnesses. In honour of the two men, their friends and family joined together to take part in their memory.Â
Keithâ€™s wife, Janet Regan, said: â€œI think for both David and Keith it was a big challenge for them to do Mission: Unbreakable. Theyâ€™d seen other people do it and thought, â€˜to hell with it, weâ€™ll do it too despite our illness.â€™ They absolutely loved this event, so we thought weâ€™d do it in memory of them both.â€Â
She added: â€œWe needed the support of the hospice with Keith, and I donâ€™t know if we would have got through it without them. Weâ€™re just so grateful to be here and fundraise for such a great cause.â€Â
Davidâ€™s wife, Clare Campbell, said: â€œIt was quite emotional coming up that final field to the finish line, knowing that David and Keith would have both loved every second of it. David took part in the event four or five times, and I could feel his presence around the course.â€Â
Clare added: â€œThe support of the Hospice to Home team meant that his last wishes were carried out, because he actually wanted to die at home. He saved all his best smiles and laughs for when the hospice nurses came each day, so it means the world to be able to come back and do this, to give something back to the hospice. Theyâ€™ve supported us and the whole family through everything.â€Â
Mission: Unbreakable was a sell-out once more and Jess Burford Redgrove, from North Devon Hospice, said it was incredible to see everyone take part after an enforced break in 2020. She said: â€œTo see everyone smiling as they crossed the finish line, even though they were caked in mud, was a real joy. Itâ€™s also a relief that there is such demand to take part in the event, as places sold out weeks ago.Â
â€œAfter a year when so much fundraising had been cancelled, and our charity shops had to be closed, it was a worrying time. We need the support of the community to continue providing care for local people who face life-limiting illnesses like cancer. Today showed incredible support, and weâ€™re so grateful to all who made it possible.â€Â
Jess thanked the army of supporters it takes to stage Mission: Unbreakable. â€œWeâ€™re so grateful to our team of volunteers on the day, North Molton Sports & Community Centre and generous landowners along the route like Norman Kellaway and Margaret Mason. Thatâ€™s not to mention our major sponsors such as Wollens Solicitors, holidaycottages.co.uk, Atlas Packaging, Specsavers, Simpkins Edwards, Pure Dental Centre, James Electrics Contracting, Stannp Ltd, Lycette Care, Ewemove North Devon, TP Pumps Ltd, Dryrobe and Advanced Scaffolding (SW) Ltd. Weâ€™re also incredibly lucky to have the support of 24 Commando Royal Engineers, who make this event very special.â€Â
To find out more about taking on other challenge events in aid of North Devon Hospice, please visit www.northdevonhospice.org.uk or call the fundraising team on 01271 347232.
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