Torrington girls meet Lakeland Challenge

A QUARTET of Torrington women have lifted top honours in The Great Lakeland Challenge, billed as the longest, steepest and highest annual outdoor charity event. Pilates teacher Louise Banfield, dental nurse Lisa Curtis and orthodontist Zena Mills, who b

A QUARTET of Torrington women have lifted top honours in The Great Lakeland Challenge, billed as the 'longest, steepest and highest' annual outdoor charity event.

Pilates teacher Louise Banfield, dental nurse Lisa Curtis and orthodontist Zena Mills, who both work for Torrington Dental Practice, and student Harriet Whewell teamed up as the Devon Dumplings to win the Mixed Team Bowl.

Lisa, Zena and Louise paddled their Canadian canoe the length of Lake Windermere - England's longest lake at 10.5 miles. They then cycled 26 miles over Wrynose and Hard Knott - England's steepest passes, involving 1,200 ft climbs at gradients of 1 in 3. For the final leg they scaled Scafell Pike, at 3,208 ft England's highest peak.

Harriet took on the role of team driver, transporting their equipment and helping them through the transition stages.


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Their challenge was to complete the course in 12 hours and the Torrington girls came home in 10 hours 10 minutes and 18 seconds. They were the only all-female team in this year's event and entered into the mixed category for extra competition.

Their efforts also included pledges of �3,900 for the organising Wooden Spoon children's charity.

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The Ford Ranger Great Lakeland Challenge is one of the Spoon Challenges, a series of major fundraising events organised by national charity Wooden Spoon. Each team commits to raising money to fund a variety of capital projects across the UK and Ireland.

"This was our first attempt at the Ford Ranger Great Lakeland Challenge and it was great fun, if exhausting," said team captain Louise. "Apparently, the weather was the best it's ever been and although some of the teams had competed a number of times before, we were among the new blood which accounted for two thirds of the 24 teams that lined up this year.

In addition to our hard work to get into shape for the event, all the time we spent cajoling people to sponsor us was definitely worth it and we're delighted that Wooden Spoon will be able to use the funds to support disadvantaged youngsters and their families up and down the country.

"We would especially like to thank our business sponsors A&J Opticians, Catertech Southwest, Torrington Implant Clinic, R Gist and Son, Creative Stone and The Pure Pilates Studio and let everyone know that we're still taking donations at www.justgiving.com/devon-dumplings."

Zena and Lisa have both done a lot of fundraising for Wooden Spoon and DownsEd Trust, cycling across the Rockies in September 2006 to raise money for the two charities. Zena and husband Ian have an eight-year old son, Keir, who has Down's Syndrome, and he has been an inspiration for Zena and Lisa in their fundraising exploits.

To find out more about the Spoon Challenges visit www.spoonchallenges.com or contact the Spoon Challenges office on 01889 582889.

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