Intrepid staff from a Newcastle law firm have battled through freezing gales and hailstorms to take their fundraising target for a city foodbank to new heights.

A 16-strong team from Hay & Kilner have taken on a sponsored climb of Helvellyn, England’s third highest mountain, to raise money for Newcastle West End Food Bank, which has been adopted by staff as their dedicated charity for 2022.

And as a reminder of the project that they’re supporting, the Hay & Kilner hikers took five rucksacks filled with tins and packets of food with them to the top of the mountain.

Despite starting in sunshine in the village of Glenridding, the team encountered worsening weather as they went up the mountain, with temperatures well below zero on the 3,118ft summit and surrounding views shrouded in the fog.

But despite the adverse conditions, the team managed to get up and down the mountain   in around six hours and have beaten their original £1,000 fundraising target by more than £500.

The £1,509 raised so far more than doubles the £1,200 that has already been brought in for the Food Bank through activities including bake sales, a raffle, a Grand National sweepstake and a quiz.

Hay & Kilner staff have also recently begun a series of volunteer days with the Food Bank, helping to collect stock and organise the hundreds of deliveries that it makes around the west end of the city every week.

Founded in 2013, Newcastle West End Food Bank is one of the busiest in the UK and provides food parcels that feed over 30,000 people annually.

Headquartered on Benwell Lane, it runs food collection points in half a dozen other community locations and provides three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to it in crisis.

Hay & Kilner is one of North East England’s leading independent law firms and provides comprehensive legal advice across every aspect of the law to businesses and individuals from both within and outside the region.

Trainee solicitor Lydia Sevenoaks, who was one of the organisers of the climb and a Food Bank volunteer, says: “We had a real mixture within our team, from experienced mountaineers to people who’ve never taken on anything like this sort of climb before, but we all worked together to make sure everyone got to the top and back down again safely.

“The weather at the summit was pretty horrendous and there wasn’t much scenery on view while we were up there, but it was a great feeling to both get up there and to then see the sunshine once again when we got back down to the bottom.

“Newcastle West End Food Bank makes a crucial difference to the lives of thousands of people within our home city and volunteering with the charity has been a real eye-opener for us in terms of seeing just how much work goes into the delivery of the invaluable services it provides.

“Taking the tins and other food up the mountain with us was a reminder of why we were there, and we’re really grateful to everyone who’s helped us smash our original fundraising target.”

Newcastle West End Foodbank issues on average 1,400 food parcels each month and 39% of the beneficiaries are children living in families facing food insecurity.  It takes approximately 20 tonnes of food each month to meet that demand and much of this is bought by the Foodbank.

John McCorry, Chief Executive, Newcastle West End Foodbank, adds: “The challenges the Hay & Kilner team have undertaken to support the Foodbank are amazing and we’re really grateful this wonderful group of people have adopted us as their charity of the year.

“More people than ever are visiting our Foodbank as the dramatic rises in the cost living pushes some households further into hardship and destitution.

“Being adopted by Hay & Kilner as their dedicated charity for 2022 is a great example of the business sector’s positive contribution to supporting organisations like the Foodbank to help local communities and the families who live in them.”

To support Hay & Kilner’s fundraising drive for Newcastle West End Food Bank, please visit https://newcastlewestend.enthuse.com/pf/hayandkilnerhelvellynhike