Family and friends of a brave teenager are uniting to scale one of Wales’ highest peaks in his memory, just 12 months after he completed the feat.
Tom was the youngest of 90 people who defied cold and wet conditions to tackle the Brecon Beacons Night Hike last year to raise vital funds for Cancer Research Wales.
Now, a year on, family, friends and teachers will be retracing the steps of the kind and caring pupil at Monmouth School for Boys, who died last June, aged 13, from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
Almost 150 people have already signed up to take part in the 9km guided night hike on Pen y Fan on Friday 22nd March.
But there is space for at least 400 people on the walk, which will start at 7pm and is expected to take around three-and-a-half hours to finish.
All the money raised from the Cancer Research Wales event will go towards the cost of funding a three-year £100,000 PhD research project into leukaemia.
Earlier this year, over 650 people took the plunge in a remarkable 12-hour swimathon, called Swim for Tom, which raised £20,000.
The total in Tom’s fund currently stands at more than £60,000.
“All of the money we raise will go to Tom’s fund,” said Debbie, Tom’s mum, who gave a heartfelt presentation to pupils and staff at Monmouth School for Boys.
“We currently have 148 people taking part in the night hike, including me, Tom’s dad, Tim, and his two sisters Holly and Emily.
“Tom’s sisters are planning to take along stones they have painted to remember Tom.
“We would like more people from the community to join us and make it another special evening in our son’s memory.”
People taking part in the Brecon Beacons Night Hike must be aged over 12 years with children under 18 accompanied by a parent or guardian.
For safety reasons, dogs are not allowed, while fully-trained mountain leaders will be involved. Registration is £30 for adults and £20 for children.
Fundraiser at Cancer Research Wales, Mr Dale Evans, said: “Guided and supported by JT Expeditions, we will climb Pen y Fan at night-fall from Storey Arms.
“Lovell Homes, JEHU Group and Santander, who will match-fund some of the donations, will be joining us on the night hike.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for people to light up the night sky and help us in our fight for a Wales without cancer.”
Tom was a keen swimmer for Monmouth School for Boys and Monnow Swimming Club and was also learning to row on the River Wye.
In December, his family christened a new rowing boat, called The Otter, in memory of Tom at Monmouth School for Boys’ Rowing Club.
The Otter – named after Tom’s favourite mammal – was bought with funds raised by pupils and with money from Tom’s estate.
Reflecting on Tom’s sudden illness, Debbie said: “As a friend recently said to me, it was never a fair fight.
“And that is what would have annoyed Tom the most. He was always fair. He had an incredible sense of what was right and what was wrong. He would have taken anything on, but this was a very one sided fight.”
She added: “The money we have raised so far has been incredible, but what everyone is doing is so much more than that.
“Every time someone does any fundraising, it shows us, as a family, that people are thinking of and remembering Tom. And we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.”
Cancer Research Wales
Event page: Cancer Research Wales
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Any queries, please contact Dale Evans at Cancer Research by e-mailing: Dale.Evans2@wales.nhs.uk