National Three Peaks Challenge

We are pleased to announce that the cousin of our CEO is attempting to do the National Three Peaks Challenge in May and he has kindly offered to raise much needed funds for our charity. We would like to thank Adam for his generous offer and wish him good luck in his endeavour.

Here is his story in his own words…

National Three Peaks ChallengeI first started raising money for local charities two years ago after my dad passed away from cancer. During his final weeks I had my eyes opened to what help was out there that relied mainly on donations. In the past I have thrown money in buckets and texted the odd number here and there but I had never done anything myself to raise money. I wanted to do something that would make a difference to the smaller, less widely known charities, so I roped in three of my friends to run the Sheffield Half Marathon in 2015.

Anyone who knows me knows I hate prolonged exercise. I moan about the walk from my house to my car. Training and running this event was one the toughest things I have ever done, or so I thought. While training for the marathon I had issues with my left knee. During the event itself I could feel it getting worse. Now one year on I still can’t run more than half a mile before my knee swells up. This caused me a problem as in 2016 my plan was to enter the Great North Run.

While doing the St. Luke’s Night Strider event in October 2015 with some friends the Three Peaks Challenge was mentioned. The more I looked into this the more I thought this is a challenge not only I could do, but one a lot of my friends can do as well. So an email was sent around and next thing I know there are 12 of us taking this on at the end of May.

Now we had to pick our charities. As a group we wanted to raise money for smaller charities as we know the money is really needed and really appreciated. We are raising money for four charities that have all touched one or more of us in some way in the past. Each member of our group is trying to raise as much money as possible, from leaving ‘please donate’ cards with customers at work, to asking companies to donate things that we can auction off, anything we feel can raise more money we are willing to do.

I have known Carl from Speak with IT all my life but we lost touch as the years went by, but we reconnected during the final days of my dad’s life. I remember him telling me then what he was trying to achieve and I remember how determined and passionate about it he was. This stayed with me when arranging this event.

One of my closest friends is profoundly deaf and I know how technology has helped him gain so much independence which without technology he would not have the life he now has.

Listening to Carl and learning how Speak with IT help people with aphasia I found so heart-warming. Reading all the stories about the people now being able to communicate with their families and friends once again is amazing.

Researching aphasia I have realised how life-destroying it can be. The work that Carl and his colleagues do helps rebuild not only their speech but their confidence and self-respect which in turn gives them a much better quality of life.

Back to our challenge. 12 of us are going to climb Ben Nevis on Saturday 28th May, Scafell Pike on Sunday 29th May and Snowdon on Monday 30th of May. We are training pretty hard leaving our families very early most weekends walking 4-5 hours.

We all know this is going to be tough but we have a good group and we all know the money we raise is going to such great charities and this will help us get through any tough situation we may encounter.

To follow our progress please like our Facebook page which you can find at
And if our story has given you the urge to donate at least £1 then please do so at

Any donations we receive are so appreciated not only by the charities but by the 12 of us who are training so hard for this.

Thanks for taking time out to read about our story

Manchester Marathon


One of our very dedicated volunteers has recently trained for, and run the Manchester Marathon. She kindly offered to raise money for our charity and in doing so we would like to send out our thanks to Rachael for her fundraising efforts and congratulate her in finishing the last four miles with an injury, well done Rachael.

Here is her story….

The ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon is marketed as the UK’s flattest, fastest and friendliest marathon.  Having not done much running for the previous two years, the idea of running a relatively flat marathon appealed.  I won’t lie, the training was hard.  There were running injuries and freezing running conditions, but running for Speak With IT helped me to maintain my running mojo through the dark winter months.

Race day came around surprisingly quickly and by Sunday 10th April, I found myself at the start line under Trafford Arch along with 9,500 other runners.  Manchester running legend Dr Ron Hill started the race at 9.00am and so the 40th Manchester Marathon began.  I ran through the streets of Sale, Brookland, Timperley, Altrincham, Urmston and Stretford, enjoying the fine and sunny weather conditions.  I admired the determination of the runner next to me wearing a full gorilla suit.  The crowd were amazing, supplying runners with jelly babies, drinks, regular high fives and shouts of encouragement.

All was going extremely well until mile 22 when a training injury resurfaced.  I pretty much stumbled and swore over the remaining 4.2 miles.  Eventually the home strait was in sight and lifted by the huge cheering crowd, I attempted a sprint finish.

It was a relief to get to the end and receive my medal and free pint of Erdinger.  As a friendly and flat marathon, Manchester certainly lived up to expectations.  I’ll keep working on the ‘fast’ bit though.



Presentation of £1,100 cheque from Wolsley UK Ripon

Peter and Pip Garside accept the cheque from James Tyreman.

Peter and Pip Garside accept the cheque from James Tyreman.

At the beginning of 2015 James Tyreman, a member of staff at Wolsley UK Ripon and who had read about Speak With IT in The Ripon Gazette, nominated Speak With IT to be one of their “Charities of the Year”. Michelle Henstock, Payroll & Benefits Manager, was pleased to inform Speak With IT of this decision in January 2015.

Throughout 2015 the Ripon staff undertook many varied fundraising activities to raise the amazing total of £1,100.  On 22 January 2016 Pip and Peter Garside, Trustees of the charity, were invited to accept a cheque from James.

The £1,100 was subsequently matched by Wolsley Charity Giving making a grand total of £2,200. We are extremely grateful to Wolsley UK Ripon for this generous donation.




Presentation of £500 cheque from Harrogate MG Club

Thanks go to two of our Ripon Speak With IT Volunteers, Janet Grimshaw and Susan Hanson,  who nominated Speak With IT to receive a donation of £500  from the Harrogate MG Club. The cheque was presented on 15 December 2015 by Janet  at the Harrogate MG Christmas Meeting and gratefully accepted by Peter and Pip Garside, Trustees of Speak With IT.

Janet, Pip and Peter are to the right of the front row in the photograph below. We are very grateful for this generous donation.

Presentation of cheque from the Harrogate MG Club

Presentation of cheque from the Harrogate MG Club

Jude raises over £2000 in the London Marathon

Jude at the start of the London Marathon

Jude at the start of the London Marathon

In April, we managed to secure our first ever place on the London Marathon. A keen runner, Jude Jackson kindly offered to run and raise money for our charity. Jude raised in excess of £2000 to help us to help more people and here is his story in his own words about the experience. All at Speak With IT would like to thank Jude for all his efforts.

‘I was at a cross country race at Nostell Priory in November 2014 in the queue for the toilets and I was asked by someone if I wanted to take her charity place running for Speak with IT, as she’d just been given a place in the main ballot……. it’s fair to say I snatched her arm off!

The first event was a charity race night and auction where we sold tickets to the event held at our club house at £5 each.  We sold out quite quickly! This included a silent auction where people gave a maximum bid on items that had been donated by local companies and friends. These included signed memorabilia from the Kaiser Chiefs to a hotel stay at Thorpe Park Hotel.  We gave everyone pie and peas, and feedback was that people really enjoyed the night as it was a good social.To raise the £2000 needed to secure the charity place for Speak with IT

I had a lot of help from my wife and friends.  I teamed up with another friend, Mark Hodgson, from St Theresa’s Athletic Club to raise the funds jointly, as he was running for a charity too. In total we planned 3 events to raise the money, after realising that we couldn’t just rely on asking for basic donations from friends and family.  People give more if they feel like they are getting something back, like a night out or fun event.  We set up a Free Virgin Money Giving page where all the funds were kept safely in one place.

The other events were a Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea for 50 people and a fun treasure hunt 5 mile run around Ulleskelf village.

All the events were an amazing success with so many people coming forward to help.

Jude and Chris Evans

Jude and Chris Evans

Helping Carl and the charity he works so tirelessly for was a pleasure. I knew nothing about his work or even what aphasia was or what it meant to people that had it. So helping such a great local charity that really needs the funding to help people locally seemed to make so much sense. These people rely on donations to keep on going.

Then was the easy part! 26.2 miles to run around our great capital city London.  The day started for me in Camden Town.  I was lucky enough to stay at my cousins flat with my wife for the weekend.  We got the tube form Camden station to the start after we had a bit of breakfast and started to mentally prepare for what was to lie ahead.  I think even for the people spectating it’s just as hard to be on your feet all day cheering your loved ones on and dashing to different locations to see them.  After starting near the back of my pen and 25mins or so after the main start it was time to cross the start line to one of the most iconic sporting events in the world! I had started the VLM!

I quickly settled into the race with the first few miles flying by and soon realised that I wasn’t going to get under 4 hours due to the sheer volume of people running the race. That didn’t matter now I had a PB to beat! As I got to mile 7 I knew this was the place I had a lot of friends and family waiting to cheer us on. I quickly spotted my wife and gave her a hug and a kiss. The race had already been going for over 7 miles now and I felt good, I felt strong!

And the miles were flying by.  Around Cutty Sark and over London Bridge, through Canary Wharf and meandering through the Docklands.  It was time to get a selfie… The crowds were buzzing and I could sense somebody famous was around. I kept hearing people saying “Chris”….. I had no idea that I was just about to ask Chris Evans from BBC Radio 2 for an running race selfie! He obliged and I’m now the proud owner of a great moment in time.

Jude with his Marathon Medal

Jude with his Marathon Medal

Miles 17-22 became quite difficult as I knew I was close to getting a PB and had to work hard not to stop. I was desperate just to walk for 30 seconds but 22 miles became 23 and 24.  I was really holding on now and it felt so hot and the crowds were so loud.  I didn’t think I could go on but kept thinking about all the people my fundraising would help.

Then the iconic Big Ben came into view and I knew now there was only around a mile to go, my mood changed and I knew I had defeated it, I knew the PB was on.  With a smile beaming on my face I ran past Buckingham Palace, down Birdcage walk to the finish. Sheer elation I had got a PB!  What a race!  What a day! What fantastic support!

After collecting my finishers medal and race pack it felt so good to walk and soak in the atmosphere of the people around you who have just done the same thing you have achieved.  There was a man around 25 years old through the finish who was very emotional.  I went up to him put my arms around him and he had a little cry. We said nothing for 10 seconds or so.  He thanked me and went on his way.  This is what it’s all about, random fate meetings and helping others.

Would I do it all again?  Damn right I would!’

Handmade Greeting Card evening

A Handmade Greeting Card evening was held at the home of Pip and Peter Garside in Bishop Monkton on 13 November 2014.

The handmade cards were made by Andrea Reas, a Speak With IT volunteer from Leeds, and her sister-in-law, Janie, who meet each week to produce these beautiful cards in a special work room at Andrea’s house in Meanwood. When they have produced a sufficient number they regularly donate the cards to a charity for them to sell, with all the proceeds going to the charity. In this case Speak With IT were the lucky charity and £166 was raised.

Approximately 25 people attended the Card Evening and everyone commented on the high standard of the cards which resulted in lots of sales.

Andrea has been a valued volunteer for Speak with IT since 2013 and supports several clients in the Leeds area. We are very grateful to Andrea and Janie.

Athens Marathon – November 2014

Speak With IT would like to send out our sincere thanks to Alyson Orler the daughter of one of our clients who having run only one previous marathon decided to run the Athens marathon and raise funds for our charity in the process. In one single week of fund raising Alyson was able to raise £625 and her company Lloyds Bank have promised to match the total raised.


Athens Marathon – November 2014

Alyson’s Story

It was a great day. Started the day having breakfast in the hotel and saw a runner with a T-shirt saying 100 marathons and another guy asking how old he was ‘73’ he replies and the other saying me too! I am on my third only … this was quite humbling!!

The weather forecast was not good, it had been cold and stormy for 2-3 days and floods in parts but I knew we would have a good sunny day. Maybe cloudy and about 18C. Well, it was even better, it was unseasonably warm, 28C and no cloud. This on a normal Sunday would have been perfect in November but with a 26 mile run looming UP HILL!! not so much. I had no hat and no sunglasses and the day just got hotter and hotter…the hills seemed like mountains and it felt like the Sahara. My foot started giving me problems just over half way and what was a run turned into a hop, skip and shuffle!!!

The veterans had been telling me to run my own race and not worry about what other people were doing and I did … It was great, I had the ‘what the hell am I doing’ wave about 20 mins before the finish. But true to form, I was not going to run into Athens Stadium with my head down. I looked around and saw people who were much older than me and I have passed the half century,  and they had gone through real life challenges and so, I picked up my pace and did the last 3k in style. That being head up and a smiling!!!!

Was it tough? Bloody hell yes!! Would I do it again? Bloody hell yes!!

Great day and an honour to be a part of a challenge with such amazing people, the causes people are running for are really inspiring.

London to Paris Charity Cycle Ride – Saturday 14 to Sunday 15 July 2012

paris cycle

What seemed like a good idea in December – signing up for the London to Paris 24-hour charity cycle ride – turned into a tough endurance event and probably the hardest physical thing I have ever done.

With three courageous, mad friends we managed to complete the 282 mile journey in 22.5 hours, burning 19,000 calories in mid July and I raised more than £11,000 for two charities: Scope (the event organisers) and SpeakwithIT.

Seven months of intensive training started in early January and involved cycling 1,697 road miles, 696 miles on the turbo trainer, taking 25 spin classes and 16 personal training sessions.

So when Saturday 14 July dawned, I felt ready but nervously anticipated what lay ahead. What I didn’t expect was the terrible weather and just ten minutes after the 11 am start at Blackheath, the heavens opened and the rain bucketed down until we reached Dover six hours later. Stage One comprised three legs from London to the coast and began slowly in Saturday traffic but the long 85 mile ride from Charing to Dover left me beginning to feel the pain and my cycling partner Chris with three punctures but we got to Dover and the ferry, drenched but still fighting.

In France the rain finally stopped, road surfaces improved and night fell so it was on with lights, head torches and high-viz clothing. The first 33 mile stage to Therouanne saw a fast pace and raised spirits. The second French stage was a 40 mile ride to Doullens but a bad puncture meant a 20 minute delay for me. Long climbs into gale-force headwinds in the lashing rain was a struggle and morale reached a low ebb. The next stage to Amiens was similar: cold, wet and dark. Amiens to Beauvais was another tough 40 mile stretch and where some riders threw in the towel and clambered aboard the bus. Somehow we pedalled on through the night and the mental barrier and from Beauvais to Pointoise the rain eased and we got through the penultimate stage with spirits fuelled by adrenalin as the finishing line drew closer.

In Paris, the Arc de Triomphe was a highlight but a scary experience on a bike. It was great riding down the Champs-Elysee towards the EiffelTower where, unexpectedly, my Mum and Dad were waiting to cheer us over the finish line.

The experience was an amazing personal challenge which I admit I’d have enjoyed better in dry weather but what counts is that we completed the course.I couldn’t have done it though without the generous help of my family, friends and supporters. It was their belief and the generous donations for my charities that got me all the way to the end.

Nick Lally

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