Tony Blake, a financial consultant, raised £3,800 for Children Today through a sponsored challenge in Borneo. He received the charity's Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year award last month.
How and why did you get involved with Children Today? Since childhood I have had an ambition to explore Borneo. When I saw Children Today's poster calling for volunteers, the temptation was irresistible.
Was it difficult to raise the money? At first, the requirement to raise at least £2,500 seemed easy, but I soon realised it wasn't straightforward, and that it was a very time-consuming process. However, as I learned more about the work of Children Today, which provides grants to buy specialist equipment for disabled children, my enthusiasm for the fundraising task grew. As I began to approach the minimum target - and then surpass it - I found I was getting as much pleasure and satisfaction from that as from the prospect of going to Borneo. Thanks to the generosity of neighbours, friends, colleagues, local businesses and the help of my wife, I was able to present the cheque to Children Today.
How much time did you spend training for the event? The challenge itself was in four parts: a trek to the 4,100m summit of Mount Kinabalu; a 160km cycle ride across the Crocker mountain range; white-water rafting down the rapids of the Padas river; and finally, a scuba dive in the South China Sea.
The first two parts of the challenge were pretty tough. Although I spent six months training in the gym and on my bike, you just cannot prepare for the altitude and climate. I soon found that the tracks around Richmond Park were no preparation for the mountain roads of Borneo!
Are there other charities you support?I have for a long time supported various charities financially, in a modest way, but this experience has awakened an interest in the sector, and I am now treasurer to two local charities who help children with special needs and their families.