A daredevil fundraiser is set to take on her most dangerous challenge yet and by conquering her fear of heights with a scramble up Eryri’s deadliest ridge.
Cervical cancer survivor Ali Alcock, from Corwen, will scale the knife-edged Crib Goch in Eryri National Park, Gwynedd, on June 26 with a team of experienced mountaineers.
It is the latest in a long list of escapades – including wing walking and sky diving – to raise money for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support that she’s done with the support of long term sponsors Ifor Williams Trailers.
The epic climb, which is the hardest of all routes to Yr Wyddfa’s summit and 3,000ft above sea level, was a ‘favourite’ of her beloved cousin Mark ‘Weeksy’ Weeks, from Johnstown, near Wrexham, who sadly lost his battle with brain cancer in September 2021. His friends challenged her to ‘follow in his footsteps’ and adrenalin-chasing Ali found it impossible to decline.
The fundraiser is one of three charity activities 45-year-old Ali has planned this year in his loving memory.
She will also be embarking on hike with a team of young climbers on May 22 and on June 17t, and Ifor Williams Trailers will be picking up the bill for a huge family fun day and charity football match at Dee Park, Corwen, set to feature an inflatable ‘It’s a Knock Out’ contest.
The trailer firm is generously covering the costs of the event to ensure all funds raised can go directly to Macmillan.
Keen walker Ali, who suffers from vertigo, is now training for Crib Goch challenge in the Ogwen Valley and says the risk level far exceeds anything she has accomplished previously.
Crib Goch is categorised as a ‘Grade 1’ scramble which means climbers must use their hands to climb short, steep sections. With sheer drops either side of the narrow ridge, climbers are exposed to the elements and the consequences of slipping or being blown off can be fatal. Many lives have been tragically lost over the years.
Ali, a social worker for Denbighshire County Council, will have eight to ten of Weeksy’s friends, all experienced climbers, by her side for support.
“I googled it when Weeksy’s friends first challenged me and the first thing that came up was the death statistics!” she said.
“I am not taking this challenge lightly – I know how serious it is. You can lose your life on this mountain, you’re literally climbing up a rock face and need harnessing in some places, it’s that dangerous.
“Both physically and mentally, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever taken on. I need people to know the gravitas of this and that I’m absolutely terrified!
“However, I stand by my motto, if you’re going to ask people to put their hands in their pockets it has to be something different and worthwhile!”
Ali credits a routine smear test in 2015 as saving her life as it led to her being diagnosed with cervical cancer and undergoing a hysterectomy.
She was given the all-clear and has raised as much funds for Macmillan Cancer Support ever since, in gratitude for the support the nurses provided while she was receiving treatment.
In the six years she has been fundraising, Ali has raised more than £61,000k – including £21,000 last year. Each year the events and total get bigger.
“I’m naturally very competitive and I’m always looking to beat last year’s total,” she said.
“I’m an eight-year survivor this year and hand on heart, I can honestly say the support Macmillan provide people living with cancer is invaluable. They need people to keep on raising the money and anything I can do to help I will.
“People can say I’ve wing-walked and jumped out of planes, but they are very quick experiences for which I have not been in control! This time I have to physically get myself up this ridge and safely back down again whilst also getting over my fear of heights!
“However, it is one of my cousin’s favourite climbs and so I’m following in his footsteps in his loving memory.”
Just days before her challenge, Ali will be hosting hundreds of visitors at her annual fun day which includes a charity football match between her cousin’s local team, Rhos Aelwyd Veterans and Corwen Veterans.
Alongside appearances from loveable characters Marshall from ‘Paw Patrol’ and Peppa Pig at the family event, teams can battle it out on a huge inflatable ‘It’s a Knock Out’ obstacle course with eight different rounds including water slides, crazy costumes and bubble pools.
Ali said: “Ifor Williams is sponsoring this event at a cost of around £3,800. They’re paying for the lot so that means everything I raise will go to Macmillan.
“They do this every year for me, their support is continuous and I truly, truly appreciate it. To be fair, it’s not just about the money, they fully support and embrace everything I do.
“I would also like to thank Corwen FC for letting me use Dee Park as the venue for the fun day.”
Carole Williams, from Ifor Williams Trailers, added: “Ali’s courage and motivation never ceases to amaze me, her fundraising achievements over the past six years have been nothing short of phenomenal.
“Ifor Williams Trailers is so proud to support her activities and sponsor her family fun day once again this year. Every year, the event gets bigger and better, and I hope the crowds come along and support her for what will be a fun-packed memorable day.
“We wish Ali every success on her Crib Goch challenge and wait with trepidation to find out what she will be doing next year!”
With so many death-defying stunts under her belt already, there is little else left to get her pulse racing. However, Ali is already exploring the possibilities.
“I’ve done air, I’m doing land this year, so maybe next year I’ll do something in the sea,” she added.
Anyone wanting to support Ali can donate via her Just Giving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/page/alison-alcock-1676315571687