Tag Archives: Pen y fan

Caldicot girl with cerebral palsy climbs South Wales’ highest peak

Specsavers directors, team members and Cerebra staff with Imogen at the Pen y Fan summit

Specsavers directors, team members and Cerebra staff with Imogen at the Pen y Fan summit

Six year old Imogen Ashwell-Lewis, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, reached the top of South Wales’ highest peak on Sunday 7 October in a specially-modified four-wheeled mountain bike.

She was joined by more than 40 people – including Specsavers staff from South and Mid Wales, charity workers and even army soldiers – some of whom were harnessed to her to help pull and push her along.

Imogen’s mum, Catherine, says: ‘Imogen is so thrilled and excited to have completed this climb. It’s only thanks to the team at Cerebra that she’s been able to have this adventure – she’s never been able to do anything like this before because of her cerebral palsy. There have been so many times that she hasn’t been able to join in with physical activities which leaves her feeling left out. Being able to do things like this is a real boost to her confidence and self-esteem. She really is over the moon.’

The Pen y Fan challenge was co-organised by Cerebra and staff at Specsavers stores in South and Mid Wales, as part of their year-long charity partnership. The opticians are raising funds for the Carmarthen-headquartered charity, which currently supports 4,500 families across Wales.

Neil Robinson, West Wales regional chair for Specsavers, says: ‘Imogen and her family are an inspiration to us all, as are the services and support Cerebra provides to them and many other families across Wales. Watching Imogen complete this challenge is something I won’t forget in a hurry. I’m proud of our staff for giving up their time to help Imogen and the charity achieve something wonderful.

Everyone who took part at the top of Pen y Fan

Everyone who took part at the top of Pen y Fan

‘I’m thrilled we have been able to help raise awareness of the charity’s work, and hope it will lead to more young children with brain conditions discovering ways to live a better life with their families.’

In addition to our support services and research work, we also have an Innovation Centre based within the University of Wales Trinity St David, where bespoke equipment is designed and created, free of charge, to make children’s lives easier.

Imogen’s bike was a specially-modified four wheeled downhill mountain bike, designed and made predominantly for use by disabled people. It was created by Calvin Williams of Project ENDURO – a collaboration between experts at Swansea University, Gower College Swansea and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Project ENDURO kindly loaned the bike to Imogen for the climb and designers at our Innovation Centre made modifications to give Imogen the support she needed. Project ENDURO was supported by AgorIP, based at Swansea University’s School of Management, who are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Terry Osborn, acting Head of Corporates, Trusts and Legacies at Cerebra, says: ‘We’re delighted to have joined the Specsavers team for the Pen y Fan climb. To be able to take Imogen with is us was a privilege and really does demonstrate that we don’t believe there is any challenge that can’t be overcome.

‘The invaluable fundraising support from Specsavers means that our Innovation Centre will be able to help more children to overcome their challenges and discover the world around them.’

This video shows Imogen reaching the top of Pen y Fan:


Sleep Walking to Success

The walkers before they set of

The walkers before they set off

On Saturday 6th May we held our second walk to the top of Pen-y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons to raise vital funds for our Sleep Service.

Following a safety briefing from the fabulous mountain rescue team, our brave walkers grabbed a glow stick each and, with an overwhelming sense of camaraderie, made their way to the summit!

This year, we were also joined by the Côr CF1 choir who not only braved the walk to the top of Pen-y-Fan but then entertained everyone with a few songs at the top. They were in fine voice, even after the trek up the mountain!

So far, this year’s Sleep Walk has raised well over £3000 and this will help fund our Sleep Service which aims to help families with children with brain conditions get a good night’s sleep.

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in the walk and for joining us on our journey to help families discover a better life together.

Sleep Walk Success!

On Saturday 23rd July we held our first Cerebra Sleep Walk to the top of Pen-y-fan in the Brecon Beacons. The moonlit walk was held to raise awareness and funds for our Sleep Service.

Our intrepid walkers gathered at 7pm and, following a safety briefing from the mountain rescue team, grabbed a glow stick and set off on the climb to the summit. There was a real feeling of camaraderie with everyone supporting each other, giving encouragement and moral support when needed.

As night drew in at the summit Cerebra Ambassador and mum, Tor Goodman, gave a powerful speech about just why Cerebra’s Sleep Service is so vital. This was followed by a mountain top auction of prizes donated by local businesses – this may be a world record for the highest altitude auction ever held (awaiting confirmation by Guinness World Records!).

There was time for a great group photo lit by an illuminated SLEEP sign made by our Innovation Centre, before descending in the darkness with torches and glow-sticks to light the way.

We all know that sleep deprivation can make us feel like we’re climbing a mountain but can never reach the top. We understand that, for families with children with a brain condition, sleep deprivation is a part of life and a continuous mountain to climb. Our Sleep Service supports families to get a good night’s sleep.

Thanks to everyone who joined in the walk and who sponsored those who did – you support is very much appreciated.

The walk was such a success that we are planning another night-time adventure in the Yorkshire area and will be announcing next year’s Pen-y-Fan date soon.

Why we’re Sleep Walking for Cerebra

Tracy Elliott

Tracy Elliott

Tracy Elliott, Head of Research at Cerebra, explains why she and her family are taking part in our Sleep Walk on 23rd July.

“Sleep, or lack of, is an issue most new parents face. We were no exception. Only our daughter, unknown to us at the time, had an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. We spent many hours walking up and down our hallway in the middle of the night trying to get our beautiful new daughter to sleep – nothing worked. We sought help, standard sleep management techniques did not work. Sleep deprivation continued.

Now as Head of Research for Cerebra I’m pleased to support research into sleep disorders. We know sleep disorders are common, different in nature and problematic for children and families living with Autism, intellectual disability, Angleman or Smith-Magenis syndromes. Cerebra funded research will help everyone understand why these problems occur and what can be done to help.

Mair Elliott

Mair Elliott

Nineteen years on we are walking up Pen Y Fan at night to replicate our early night walking experience and to raise awareness of, and money for, this important sleep research”.

Tracy, Geoff and Mair Elliott

You can help Tracy Elliott raise money for this great cause by donating directly to her fundraising page.

Research into Sleep Disorders is being carried out by the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Birmingham University.