Lecturer’s Everest challenge for stillbirth cause

College lecturer Bill Fowler didn’t rest in his bid to raise funds for a cause close to his heart as he cycled more than 166 miles in under 12 hours on North Wales’s steepest mountain, writes Billy Camden.

There was no rest North Shropshire College lecturer Bill Fowler as he took on the Horseshoe Pass 12-hour Everesting Challenge raise more than £500 for a learner.

It was done in the name of level three animal management student Cerian Cowley, aged 21, who suffered a stillbirth in February and has since been on a fundraising mission for her charity Willow’s Wishes.

Named after Cerian’s stillborn baby, the charity aims to provide more cuddle cots, which allow bereaved parents to spend time with their stillborn child, at the Wrexham Maelor hospital where she gave birth.

Cerian’s family friend and course lecturer, Laura Pugh, approached engineering lecturer Bill to help with the fundraising. She said without the cot “Willow would have been placed in the mortuary away from family and friends”.

Bill Fowler

Bill Fowler

Bill said: “You can imagine the upset it [the stillborn] caused. It is awful, I couldn’t think of anything more traumatic.”

Keen cyclist Bill completed the Everesting challenge, which involves choosing a hill and cycling up and down it enough times to gain enough vertical height to make a total of 8,848 metres (the height of Mount Everest) on North East Wales’s Horseshoe Pass. It is the biggest mountain climb in North Wales in terms of height gain.

“Physically it was hard. I was caught in a headwind throughout the day which didn’t really help but I think it is more of a mental challenge,” said Bill.

“You’re literally riding a loop and once I had gone up and down for the fourteenth time I started to recognise things like a bit of litter in the hedge road. It all started to seem awfully familiar but not in a terribly good way. It was like being in a hamster wheel.”

But when times got tough, Bill set his mind on what was really important.

“In that situation you’ve just got to press on and think about the cause it was for,” he said.

“I think cycling is one of those disciplines where the pros talk about “learning to suffer”, which sounds very dramatic, but you learn to just think about other things and for me it was thinking about Willow’s Wishes.”

Cerian said: “We are all very proud of Bill and what he has achieved, with raising money, his help, generosity and completing a new personal achievement.”

From left: Laura Pugh and Cerian Cowley

From left: Laura Pugh and Cerian Cowley

He thanked all those who came along and supported him, including Laura and fellow North Shropshire College animal lecturer Jenna Motley.

Laura said: “I was there to support Bill all the way and being at the finish line was emotional not only to see Bill achieve a personal challenge but to be so selfless and help raise money for a friend of mine who has been through such a heart breaking ordeal. Bill you are a super star.”

Visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/willow-s-wishes#/story to donate to Willow’s Wishes.