20th October 2016

Accountancy firm’s PA takes on Kilimanjaro challenge for local charity

UNW’s Fiona Railson is taking on a challenge of a lifetime to raise much-needed cash for the Newcastle accountant and business advisory firm’s charity of the year.

PA Fiona flies out to Tanzania on Friday (October 21) for the epic trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, which stands almost 20,000ft high. She’s taken on the challenge in aid of Gosforth-based Smile for Life, which works with disabled and disadvantaged children.

Fiona, from Corbridge, said: “Smile for Life is UNW’s staff-nominated charity for 2016. It supports younger children and provides equipment for them, and offers work placement experience for older ones at Café Beam in Gosforth.”

Fiona is joining the Smile for Life team on the 20-person trek, which is organised by UNW client Rare Adventures. In order to join the trip, she had to raise £2,500 in sponsorship.

“I discussed it with Smile for Life and didn’t think I could raise that much,” said Fiona. “But with the offline donations coming in, I’ve smashed my target.

“I’ve had overwhelming support from UNW, I didn’t expect anything like this. I’ve raised much more than I thought.”

Fiona, who wasn’t previously a walker or a camper, has spent the summer getting into shape for the challenge by walking in the countryside near her home and around Hadrian’s Wall. She’s been striding out on the treadmill at the gym since the nights became darker.

She said: “I had to push myself to get out there and get as fit as possible for the climb. I’m about where I should be before I fly.”

Fiona has raised money through both online and offline donations as well as by organising cake sales and bag packing with friends and family at local supermarkets.

UNW staff vote for a new charity each year and raise funds through events and challenges. While Fiona is taking on the Kilimanjaro trek, other UNW staff have been supporting Smile for Life in different ways. Events have included an 80-mile charity cycle challenge by 20 members of staff, a pop-up Café Beam in UNW’s offices and there’ll be spooky fun in the office at Halloween.

UNW’s managing partner Andrew Wilson said: “We’re so proud of Fiona and the way she has set about getting fit and raising so much money for Smile for Life.

“We wish her all the very best for the Kilimanjaro trek and we’re looking forward to hearing about her experiences when she returns.”

To sponsor Fiona, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Fiona-Railson

Photo: Front, l-r: Rajan and Anjali Malhotra, Marjorie Ridgway / Back, l-r: Alan Suggett, Karen Simms, Amanda Maskery, Paul Graham

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