Westminster Befriend a Family

Top of the World

View from Mount Snowdon

Top of the World

Today, Noreen Sumra, intrepid chair of Westminster Befriend a Family, went above (literally!) and beyond the call of duty. She spent her Wednesday in Snowdonia hiking up the highest mountain in Wales, Mount Snowdon. After a gruelling training programme, Noreen’s efforts paid off as she made it up to the summit much quicker than her target time.


Noreen Sumra Ascending Mount Snowdon

Noreen Sumra Ascending Mount Snowdon

“I am seriously not fit”

For someone who claimed to be seriously not fit and found her training climbs ‘a hard slog’, Noreen made the climb look like a breeze. She had aimed to get to the top, weather permitting, in three hours. Enjoying the views as she went, she smashed her target, reaching the summit in a mere two hours and fifteen minutes!


Noreen Sumra almost at the top of Mount Snowdon

Noreen almost at the top of Mount Snowdon

Some facts about Mount Snowdon for you

Mount Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales at 1085 metres above sea level. As you can see from the pictures, there’s a good reason why it’s the third most visited attraction in Wales. The mountain itself is volcanic in its origins, produced in the Ordovician Period. It has been shaped over the centuries by glaciation, forming into a pyramidal peak. There’s a railway that’ll take you to the top. Note to our chair – it’s easier by train!


Noreen Sumra at the summit of Mount Snowdon

Made it!: Noreen at the summit of Mount Snowdon

In her own words

She had this to say:

I am absolutely amazed, and not a little bit hyped, about successfully completing my ascent in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I had set myself a target of doing it in 3 hours because I am seriously not fit and based on times achieved by friends.

It was an almost spiritual few hours. So many climbers had told me that “the mountain needs to be respected” almost as if it’s a living thing. You see what they mean when you get to the summit.

I would recommend the climb to everyone for the peace and solitude you feel on the way up (despite the panting) and the sense of achievement on the way down.

Thank you to all my supporters and donors. You did a good thing and I feel great not to have let you down.


The view from Mount Snowdon

Wow. Just look at that view

You can catch up with Noreen’s other posts on her Snowdon Climb page.

If you’ve been inspired by Noreen’s story and would like to support Westminster Befriend a Family, we’d LOVE to hear about your fundraising ideas. If you’re not up for mountain climbing, you can make a donation to our amazing charity by hitting the DONATE button.

Noreen shines through on a rainy day

Noreen Sumra training in the rain

Even the torrential rain won’t stop her!


On what should ideally have been a duvet day (and which usually is) I took the opportunity to walk in torrential rain in Windsor great park to test my wet weather gear; I am reliably advised that there is a huge possibility of my climb being weather challenged, so I guess it was a timely downpour.  As you may be able to make out, my supposedly waterproof sweatshirt is anything but!  Another shopping trip, I think. 7.4 miles in just under 2 hours… I’m happy!! Thanks for reading my stories and for your donations.


Peak of Fitness

Noreen at the bottom of Box Hill

It’ll be worth it in the end

Last week Noreen successfully climbed Box Hill in Surrey as part of her preparation for climbing Mount Snowdon.

It was a long, hard slog and in scorching heat, too, but she did it. She literally crawled up the last 200 metres on her hands and knees and only got to her feet at the top for the final photo! A mark of the determination Noreen has to ensure she completes the challenge and raises as much money as she can for Westminster Befriend a Family.

It may not be in Snowdon’s league but it’s no mean feat climbing Box Hill. It’s the summit of the North Downs and situated about 30 miles south-west of London. The ‘hill’, which takes its name from the ancient box woodland found on the steepest west-facing chalk slope overlooking the River Mole, is 735 feet high. Not exactly what you’d consider as an easy afternoon stroll.

If you’d like to support Noreen along the way, please donate whatever you can by clicking the donate button here: http://www.befriendafamily.co.uk/donate/ and tell your friends to do the same. Thank you.

Noreen after she’d crawled her way to the top

You can also read one of our stories http://www.befriendafamily.co.uk/bonded-together-again/ that show the kind of work we do to support some of the poorest, most vulnerable families get back on their feet.


Heading for the Top

Noreen to take on Snowdon


Noreen Sumra, Chair of the Trustees at Westminster Befriend a Family (WBAF), is putting her foot in it, or, more accurately, putting her feet in it, and hopes to raise a lot of money in the process …

She’s climbing 3,560 feet to the top of Mount Snowdon to help raise money for WBAF’s work helping vulnerable families in Westminster find ways to turn their lives around.

“I’m a regular and keen walker,’ she said, ‘but I haven’t done a challenge like this for a few years. So I decided September 5th is the day and climbing Snowdon is the first step to me eventually climbing the three peaks.”

Along with Snowdon, the three peaks are Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Scotland and Scafell Pike the highest point in the Lake District. She makes no promises about when she will get around to climbing the other two peaks but is determined to get Snowdon under her belt. “I’ve been thinking about doing this for about a year; joining WBAF has been the motivation I needed to get going with it.”

Snowdon is the highest peak in Wales and was used by famed climber Edmund Hillary to train for his Mount Everest expedition. Noreen will be using the 735 feet high Box Hill in Surrey as her training ground.

If you want to make sure Noreen doesn’t get hot, sweaty, sore, blistering feet for nothing and want to help a very worthwhile cause in the process, please donate whatever you can afford by clicking on our donate page here:  http://www.befriendafamily.co.uk/donate/.

Thank You.