Dec Aid

Students and alumni taking part in the Munro Mission

Mountain trek challenge for students and alumni

Tom O’Connell, who will graduate this summer with a degree in Russian and Spanish, is leading students on one of Britain’s most gruelling challenges.  The Munro Mission starts on 1st August and is one of six high profile events that will raise money for DecAid.

Dec Aid is a year long national appeal that is being run by over 60 Exeter University students and alumni, all under the age of 25

DecAid’s main aims include raising over £350,000 for three service charities (SSAFA Forces Help, Talking2Minds and BLESMA), increasing support for our servicemen and women who have been affected in the 10 years since British Military operations began in Afghanistan, and encouraging young people to stand up and show their support. The Munro Mission is DecAid’s largest and most challenging event and will see Tom and his team attempt all 283 Scottish Munro’s in just 49 days without any motorised transport.  To complete the challenge in 49 days the team will have to run and cycle 36 miles every day, ascending 81 vertical miles in the process – the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest fourteen-and-a-half times and travelling from Lands End to John O’Groats twice! 

Whilst with Exeter University Officer Training Corps (EUOTC), Tom was appointed Platoon Sergeant. He has run numerous marathons and competed in triathlons. “I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to take part in all sorts of adventurous activities and physical challenges whilst I have been at Exeter, but none compare to DecAid’s Munro Mission. We have been planning and training for this event for almost two years and we are now all really excited that it is finally about to start. We have a great team behind us and loads of support so I have no doubt that we will complete the challenge and raise all the money we are aiming to for DecAid’s three charities.”

Tom is joined by three other graduates in organising this massive feat which has only ever been completed by thirteen people to date. Sarah Keane (History and International Development) is leading a support team of over fifteen students, a position for which she is more than qualified for. In 2009, whilst being heavily involved in EUOTC, she led the support team for a record breaking University marathon team and in 2010 did the same for an attempt at the Bob Graham Round.  Sarah reflects on her role, “ensuring that the runners have enough support to complete this challenge is obviously hugely important and I am looking forward to washing their socks, cooking huge quantities of pasta and seeing them achieve this task over the 7 weeks in Scotland this summer”.

As well as aiding the support team Lucy Taylor and Sophie Archibald are heading up the Media team. Lucy will graduate this summer with a degree in Geography.  Whilst at Exeter she was on the management team for the University volunteering organisation, Community Action. In her third year she gained experience for the role working for an Exeter PR firm and for one of the UK’s largest event organisers. Sophie (Psychology) remarks, “I am greatly enjoying being part of this fantastic student run initiative and gaining invaluable experience in an area I now wish to pursue as a career”. 



Date: 6 July 2011

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