CEO Simon Pollard talks about his passion for charity fundraising for Yorkshire Post – Business, My Passion section.
I love Yorkshire. I was born in Bradford, have built up a successful business and prospered here. I’ve never really wanted to move further afield as everything I want and need is here in Yorkshire. However, I know not everyone around me has had the opportunities that I’ve had and thus welcomed the chance to give back to my community, when it came.
I was asked to participate in a fund-raising challenge – the Welsh 3000s mountain walk – for Bradford-based charity, One in a Million (OIAM). Fifteen peaks above 3,000 feet in 24 hours. It sounded pretty easy to me – I’ve climbed Snowden several times, so climbing 15 ‘Snowdens’ couldn’t be that hard. Without hesitation I said yes and the journey to a newfound passion began without me realising it. Foolishly, however, I thought no more of it in the following months until OIAM asked how my preparations were going. This put me on my toes – more on those later!
I’ll be honest, since having agreed to the challenge, I hadn’t researched OIAM as I should have. I set about putting that right and it was after watching a video featuring co-founder and former Premier-League footballer, Wayne Jacobs that I found myself totally committed to OIAM. His moving words made the importance of his charity’s work so apparent and highlighted how critical OIAM is in providing opportunities to children and young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds, who live in the community where I grew up. I wanted to be part of it – and with the walk coming up, I certainly was!
So, with just two weeks to go, sponsorship and a ‘little bit’ of exercise were my focus, little realising this would be one of the hardest things, physically and mentally, I’d ever done. When the day came, I found myself alongside some super fit people. Talking and walking with them, sometimes in total darkness, soon revealed their passion for what this was all about. On the slopes of goodness knows which mountain, OIAM and putting back through charitable efforts became a passion all of my own – and that was lucky, because I needed all the passion I could muster to help drive me on during 22.5 hours of the most gruelling walking.
As for those toenails… well, my two big toenails were literally falling off – a little painful tugging and tearing helped them on their way – and some of the others were not far behind accompanied by a ‘little bit’ of blood filling my shoes! Pushing through the pain barrier was hard, but with the help of my newfound passion, the encouragement of our group, and the knowledge that the £3k I’d be raising if I completed the walk would make a real difference, I did. The final five hours spent in pitch darkness were the toughest, but I made it with time to spare!
That event has changed me. I’m now a greater advocate of charitable work than ever before and involve myself and my company in charitable activities whenever possible.
On 4th July 2015, Simon Pollard will take on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge for One in a Million. He will be joined by 7 Intouch Advance staff – please click to sponsor them.