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Annie Maw tops the Tor after challenge in aid of festival medical charity

ANNIE Maw – the former Lord Lieutenant of Somerset – successfully scaled Glastonbury Tor in her wheelchair as part of a challenge to raise awareness and funds for a county charity.

She made the 158-metre ascent in a wheelchair with the help of the Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, in aid of Festival Medical Services (FMS), the Somerset-based charity of which she is a patron.

Annie had never climbed the landmark, even before a horse-riding accident in 2002 led to her becoming a wheelchair-user.

But on May 4 – National Firefighters Day – she made the climb, conquering her fears ahead of the challenge.

The former nurse said: “I had the most amazing experience of being up there, which is an extraordinary, unique place.

“The team of about 20 Devon and Somerset firefighters took it in turns to push and pull me with ropes up the path which was 260 steps and almost perpendicular in places.

“I was quite fearful beforehand, but actually on the day I was not frightened at all because the firefighters are the most unpanicked people you could ever meet.”

FMS provides medical services at events across the country, including Somerset’s Glastonbury Festival. And Annie said highlighting the group’s work was key to her taking on the climb.

Former Lord Lieutenant Annie on her way up the Tor

Former Lord Lieutenant Annie on her way up the Tor

“I took on this challenge for two reasons,” she explained. “Firstly, I wanted to highlight that being a wheelchair-user can bring many difficulties in getting around to places that able-bodied people take for granted – but we must keep pushing the boundaries and proving there is more and more we can achieve.

“Secondly, I did it to tell the world about Festival Medical Services as they head into the festival season in 2024.

“They are the most incredible, generous people who work voluntarily at festivals because they want to send funds to other voluntary organisations bringing medical care into countries where people are suffering from wars and natural disasters and are in desperate need of wheelchairs.”

READ MORE: How a Glastonbury Festival meeting led to Tor charity challenge

FMS intends to give the sponsorship money Annie has raised – currently standing at more than £13,000 – to two other medical charities.

The money will be split between Motivation and Humanity & Inclusion – an international disability and inclusion charity based in Bristol.

Motivation provides wheelchairs, training and support to empower disabled people in Africa and India to gain independence, improve their confidence and transform their own lives. They provided the all-terrain wheelchair that Annie used in her ascent.

Humanity & Inclusion work alongside disabled and vulnerable people around the world – particularly in countries affected by conflict, natural disaster and poverty.

“I always wanted to help someone with the same injury as me somewhere else in the world because there are 100 million people in the world who need wheelchairs who haven’t got them,” Annie added.

“Even if we only put enough money together to get a few people a wheelchair, that’s better than none, so I feel elated.”

Annie’s sponsorship page is still open for donations at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/access-all-areas.

FMS and Annie also thanked The Riflemans Arms pub in Glastonbury, who kindly lent the use of their car park on the day.

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