Charity Challenge event says thank you to Porlock Vale and Exmoor


Porlock Vale and Exmoor charities have benefited from a major charity event held in the area by Samworth Brothers, one of the country’s leading food manufacturers. The 2019 Samworth Brothers Charity Challenge was hosted over two weekends at the Porlock Recreation Ground.

The triathlon-style event has raised more than £2.2 million over the last 12 years. In the 2019 event more than 100 teams of four from Samworth Brothers businesses, customers and suppliers participated raising a total of £318,000 for charity.

One aspect of the event is giving back to the local community. At a celebration evening at the Porlock Recreation Ground seven Porlock Vale, Minehead and Exmoor charities were presented with donations totalling £60,000 from the Charity Challenge organisers.  

The CareMoor for Exmoor scheme received an award of £15,000 to help pay for a new footbridge at Tivington Knowle and for other improvements to Woodside bridge at Lynton.

Porlock Youth Club and Porlock Weir gig club each received awards of £10,000, the Dovery Museum in Porlock received an award of £7,000, and the Porlock apple press an award of £3,000 so the organisation can purchase historic farming equipment, signs and an improved pasteuriser.

There was an award of £10,000 for the Minehead RNLI towards the construction of a new building and an award of £5,000 for the Minehead Merlins cycling club, so the club can develop a fleet of bikes to be used in schools and elsewhere around the area.   

Samworth Brothers Group Executive Director Paul Davey said: “One aspect of our Charity Challenge fund-raising is giving back to the local community where each Challenge is held.  We always make a significant level of local awards to say thank you to our hosts. Porlock and Exmoor gave our teams such a warm welcome and we are delighted to be able to support a wide range of local charities.  Exmoor and Porlock Vale are beautiful parts of the country, with outstanding scenery and some spectacular landscapes.  All our teams very much enjoyed the location and I am sure many will be making return visits to explore the area further.”

Russell Vowles (Chair of Trustees, Porlock Recreation Ground) said: "It was a privilege to host the Samworth Charity Challenge at the Recreation Ground and I congratulate all participating teams and sponsors who raised so much for charity. The Samworth Brothers’ team were a pleasure to work with and we have had very positive feedback about the event from the community. Much local accommodation was booked through Porlock Visitor Centre and where possible local businesses were used to provide services. The donations made to local causes are beyond expectation and are most appreciated by the community.  We can now run the new Youth Club with professional youth workers from Minehead Eye for two years, which is excellent news. This, combined with the generous donation to the Porlock Weir Gig Club, will help address the need for more youth-focused activities in the area. Funding for maintenance of the 15th century Dovery Manor, which houses the museum, has been lost in recent years, so the generous donation to this cause is a great relief to the volunteers involved and the Parish Council who have also expressed their thanks." 

Dan James, Exmoor National Park's Sustainable Economy Manager said: "The generous funds distributed locally to both our own CareMoor for Exmoor scheme and other good causes will leave a lasting legacy for the area. The CareMoor contribution will be used to fund vital works on our rights of way, including a new footbridge close to the event route near Tivington Knowle. Such support is vital in ensuring future generations continue to enjoy the Exmoor landscape sustainably." 

Minehead RNLI Chairman Bryan Stoner, commenting on the donation to Minehead RNLI said: “The £10,000 donation to Minehead RNLI could not have come at a better time.  Over the next two years we will be looking to raise a considerable amount to help us completely remodel the Minehead lifeboat station.  The improvements will help us to speed up our launch times, give the crew proper changing rooms, help us in our educational work in the community and make the station more of an attraction for tourists.  We are extremely grateful for such a fantastic donation.”

On the second weekend the teams were joined by a team from 40 Commando Royal Marines based at Taunton who tackled and won the Challenge’s elite course.

More than 50 other charities were supported by team fundraising including Alzheimer’s Research, Macmillan, Stroke Association, British Deaf Association, Marie Curie, NSPCC, Sue Ryder, Huntingdon’s Disease Association, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Wishes4Kids, Heartlink Children’s Charity, Hospice at Home, Coping with Cancer, Rainbows Trust Children’s Hospice, Cornwall Air Ambulance, Devon and Cornwall Autistic Society, Argyle Community Trust, Macmillan, various women’s cancer charities, the Anthony Nolan Trust and Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Published: 25 June 2019

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