Couple Tackle Welsh Mountain Challenge In Memory Of Best Friend

A HUSBAND and wife team are celebrating their friend’s memory after tackling a gruelling Snowdon challenge to raise funds for the hospice that cared for him.

Debbie and Dave Whalley from Ruabon decided to undertake a trek and kayak for their late friend Gary Aplin, who died in January 2021, and so far, they’ve raised more than £2,000.

Debbie, who worked at the hospice as a Staff Nurse in the early noughties, said her and Dave did the challenge because Gary was one of their closest friends and brought happiness and joy to so many people when he was alive.

It included a climb to the summit of Snowdon via the hazardous Pyg Track, followed by a 2.5mile kayak across Llyn Padarn – one of the largest natural lakes in Wales.

Debbie said: “I had the privilege of working as a staff nurse at Nightingale House between 2002 and 2005 and know what an amazing place it is.

“We took this on in memory of Gary because he was one of those rare people who genuinely made life better. We count ourselves lucky to have had the time with him that we did. The challenges of his last 18 months didn’t diminish Gary’s humour or courage.”

Debbie who has a fear of heights, said she would never have made it to the summit without the support of her husband Dave.

She added: “My fear of heights nearly got the better of me. It was tough but we made it to the top. Gary’s widow Diane has told us the money raised has pushed his memorial fund beyond £10k, so a big thank you to everyone who supported us and others in our fundraising efforts.

“Gary will now get his memory tree through the hospice tribute fund and he would be made up with that. He was a truly unique friend who we all love and miss so much.”

Challenge Events Coordinator Bethan Scott said: “We are so grateful to Debbie and Dave for taking on and completing this extremely tough challenge in memory of their dear friend Gary and to raise vital funds for Nightingale House Hospice for those living with life-limiting illnesses and their families. The weather was against them on the day but they dug deep and faced the challenges with grit and determination.”

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