North-East charity set to benefit from the Strive Challenge

The Virgin STRIVE Challenge, a mass participatory ultra-endurance fundraising event organised by Sam Branson and Big Change, was officially launched yesterday at London’s O2 Arena. Sam Branson, Big Change co-founder, was joined by a host of inspirational friends and family including sister Holly, comedian Jack Whitehall, tennis star Marion Bartoli and other high profile individuals taking part in the event.

The Challenge, which takes place from 7 August to 6 September 2014, will see a core team of people travel from the O2 Arena in London to the summit of the Matterhorn in Switzerland, entirely under human power. The different legs consist of 3 back-to-back marathons from London to Dover, rowing the English Channel, cycling 900+km to Verbier in Switzerland, hiking 7 days across the Alps (The Haute Route) to Zermatt and finishing by climbing the Matterhorn.

The core team consists of Sam Branson, Richard Reed (Innocent Co-Founder), Marion Bartoli (current Wimbledon Champion), Karl Lokko (poet and social activist), Ade Adepitan (broadcaster and paralympian), Justin Packshaw (adventurer), Fiona Waller (trans-Atlantic and Indian ocean rower), Arnaud Haines and Noah Devereux (event co-founder and director).

Richard Reed, Core Team member commented: “The Virgin Strive Challenge is about raising money for and awareness of charities that help equip young people with the emotional resilience to get the most out of life. A person’s confidence increases the more they challenge themselves, so let’s all get out there and do something we’ve never done before. I’d never set up a business before Innocent and I was very unconfident about doing it, but I felt the fear and did it anyway, and never looked back.”

350 extra participants will join the Core Team across the various legs including Sir Richard Branson, Holly Branson, Beatrice York, Jamie Oliver, Jack Whitehall, Professor Brian Cox, Lawrence Dallaglio, Jermaine Jackman, Jack and Finn Harries, Jamal Edwards, Ed Sheeran and Kenton Cool. Boris Becker will also provide some commentary!

The event will be raising money for Big Change, a charity that was founded by six friends including Sam Branson, Holly Branson, and Princess Beatrice. The charity is dedicated to improving the lives of young people in the UK and the money raised by the Challenge will be used to support a number of different projects working with young people to develop the crucial Life Skills they will need to really thrive in life. Having previously received support from the Big Change, The Key were thrilled to hear they had been selected as one of only a selection of charities to benefit.

Event organiser Sam Branson said: ‘I am incredibly excited to have created such a challenging event that will hopefully have such a positive impact on young people across the UK. It has been so rewarding seeing it evolve from an idea with my cousin into a massive and very real physical event that will cross three countries, five different sporting disciplines and contain over three hundred and fifty participants. I am sure that the Virgin STRIVE Challenge will achieve all we set it out to and I am very looking forward to the adventure ahead… Now I just need to get fit enough!”