Cyclist celebrating 75th birthday aims to raise £5,000 for Shelter Cymru by riding 1,000km

Cyclist celebrating 75th birthday aims to raise £5,000 for Shelter Cymru by riding 1,000km-

Peter will be cycling 1,000km

Forget birthday cards and cake. Peter Munt-Davies won’t be celebrating his 75th birthday in the usual way. He’ll be cycling 1,000km to support Shelter Cymru.

Peter, whose niece works for the people and homes charity, is aiming to raise £5,000 by cycling from Seville to Santiago de Compostela in western Spain, including 10,000m of ascent.

“Hopefully, I’ll compete the route in 18 days,” said Peter, who is originally from Pembrokeshire and currently lives in Cádiz, Andalusia.

Peter has always been a keen cyclist and once cycled across Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City to raise money for an addiction support charity.

“I’ve ridden bikes for most of my life,” he said. “In my opinion, Pembrokeshire is one of the best places you can find to cycle, but I am biased!”

Peter, who used to work as an Assistant Warden in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, will leave Seville on Tuesday 2 April and pedal along the Camino de Santiago – a traditional pilgrimage route.

Peter with his bike

Peter with his bike

He’s been preparing by getting out on his bike as much as possible and practicing with a GPS. He’ll be looking out for shell waymarks along the trail to make sure he’s on the right Via de la Plata route.

Peter said: “Once I’ve navigated my way out of an extremely confusing Sevilla, I’m looking forward to quiet roads and continuously changing scenery. I love the movement on a bike.”

He’s expecting the uphill stretches to be the most difficult element of his ride, adding: “1,000km is challenging enough, but add to that 10,000m of ascent.”

The retired teacher, who is also trained in acupuncture, is anticipating riding solo and staying in a different hostel every night to be a challenge and is also hoping for good weather, with no headwinds or rain.

He’ll be cycling up to 100km a day, with just three rest days planned for his three-week ride. The biggest climb he’ll face is 1,500m in a single day, but he’s excited for the downhill stretches.

He's looking forward to cycling on quiet roads

He’s looking forward to cycling on quiet roads

Peter said he’s most looking forward to arriving at the finishing line in the main square by Santiago de Compostela cathedral, where his wife Anne will be part of the welcoming party.

“I’m taking on this challenge for a variety of reasons,” he explained. “The two main ones are to celebrate my 75th birthday and to raise money. Shelter Cymru do such good work, I’d find it hard to think of another more deserving charity.”

Dad-of-one Peter is uncle to Krista Robinson, who works as Senior Solicitor within the Housing Services team. She has been working with Shelter Cymru for more than 20 years and said his choice of charity was “very close to my heart”.

Peter in Spain

Peter in Spain

Krista described his challenge as “amazing”, adding: “I can’t tell you how proud we all are of Pete. He’s always fun, entertaining and one for adventures, but he’s surpassed himself this time!

“What an incredible challenge. Best of luck in your adventure, Pete, and thank you for raising money for Shelter Cymru.”

Peter is aiming to raise £5,000 to help people facing and experiencing homelessness. Last year, Shelter Cymru helped more than 22,000 people in housing need in Wales.

Visit Peter’s Just Giving page to make a donation. 

27 March 2024

By Liz Day

‘There’s never been a more important time to act’ – Supporter takes on epic Mount Everest challenge

‘There’s never been a more important time to act’ – Supporter takes on epic Mount Everest challenge

Lauren will be one of 15 people taking on the challenge

11 days of trekking. 71 miles. 5,364m of altitude. It’s a huge challenge, but Lauren Carless is ready for her expedition to Everest Base Camp.

The financial planner from Cardiff is aiming to raise £3,000 for Shelter Cymru and Velindre Cancer Centre by taking on this epic fundraising hike in sub-zero conditions in the Himalayas.

“It’s always been on my bucket list,” said Lauren, who loved walking in the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park with her dad Tim when she was growing up.

“Naturally, I developed his love of hiking,” she said. “So when a friend told me she knew someone who was organising a trip to Mount Everest, it didn’t take me long to sign up.”

The 30-year-old runs her own business called Lauren Carless Financial Planning and is a member of the Business Network International (BNI) group in Cardiff Bay.

It was there she first met Neil Davies, who works as Regional Fundraiser for Shelter Cymru, and she immediately wanted to support the charity’s work.

Lauren and Neil collecting donations at Cardiff Christmas Festival

Lauren and Neil collecting donations at Cardiff Christmas Festival

“I’ve supported Shelter Cymru through BNI Cardiff Bay for the last few years and I care deeply about helping to end homelessness,” she explained.

“Neil is always presenting us with eye-opening statistics about people facing and experiencing homelessness in Wales.”

Last year, the people and homes charity helped more than 22,000 people in housing need in Wales, including nearly 7,000 dependent children.

Recently, Lauren volunteered at Cardiff Christmas Festival, helping to collect more than £700 in donations towards Shelter Cymru’s Winter Appeal.

“With the cost of living crisis continuing to affect Welsh communities, I feel like there’s never been a more important time to act,” she said.

Lauren in the mountains

Lauren in the mountains

Lauren, who will also be supporting Velindre Cancer Centre, has been training hard for the challenge, which will see her trek more than 70 miles to an altitude of 5,364m.

“I’m hitting the gym as much as I can. The stair climber machine has become my new best friend,” she laughed.

“I’m also getting out for hikes at weekends with the rest of the team who’ll be doing the trek. It’s been lovely getting to know everyone.”

Lauren will be one of 15 people taking on the challenge and is most looking forward to spending time with the other hikers.

“We’re all raising money for causes close to our hearts,” She said. “So the sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ will make it a very special trip. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Lauren on a training hike

Lauren on a training hike

She’s also excited to see the Himalayas – a part of the world she’s always wanted to visit – although is feeling nervous about the possibility of altitude sickness.

“We’ll take precautions,” she said. “We’ll have guides and medical professionals supporting us. I just want to finish the trek!”

With just weeks to go before flying to Lukla in Nepal, Lauren is busy thinking about her packing list. She added: “A lot of prep is going in to making sure I have the right kit.”

“With sub-zero temperatures and only being allowed to take 15kg on the small plane, I’ve had to think carefully about what I need.

“We have 71 miles of trekking ahead of us, ascending to 5,364m above sea level. We’ll be facing low oxygen levels, temperatures below freezing and no hot water for showers for 11 days.”

Lauren in her backpack

Lauren in her backpack

Lauren is aiming to raise £3,000 for Shelter Cymru and Velindre Cancer Centre. She said: “I’ve had a great response so far and want to say thank you to everyone who has kindly donated already.”

Neil added: “Thank you to Lauren, who’s taking on this mammoth challenge to raise vital funds for our work at Shelter Cymru.

“As a fundraiser, I feel really proud seeing the incredible achievements of our supporters. We’re so grateful to Lauren for all her support – from awareness raising to bucket collections.

“On behalf of the whole team at Shelter Cymru, I’d like to wish Lauren the best of luck for her expedition. Have a safe trip and we can’t wait to hear about your adventure when you get home.”

Visit Lauren’s Go Fund Me page to make a donation. 

14 February 2024

By Liz Day

Determined hiker walks more than 2,000 miles to raise funds for Shelter Cymru

Determined hiker walks more than 2,000 miles to raise funds for Shelter Cymru

Dani walked 2,340 miles in a year

A determined hiker wore through five pairs of shoes as she walked more than 2,000 miles in a year to raise funds for Shelter Cymru.

Dani Thomas completed Ultra Challenges across the UK, as well as spending hours on a treadmill at work, to raise hundreds of pounds to help people facing homelessness in Wales.

“I immediately felt compelled to help,” said Dani, who works for Monmouthshire Building Society. “Shelter Cymru’s work is essential and they inevitably need funds to keep doing it.”

The 34-year-old said it was during a session led by the people and homes charity at her work, back in 2022, that she decided to take on the endurance walking challenge.

“One of my favourite things to do outside of work is walking, so I wanted to put that to good use,” she explained. “I hoped it would not only empower me, but encourage other people too.”

Dani hopes her fundraising achievement will inspire other people too

Dani hopes her fundraising achievement will inspire other people too

Dani started her Steps For Shelter Cymru challenge in January 2023, aiming to walk 2,340 miles in 12 months, which is further than walking from Land’s End to John O’ Groats and back again.

To keep on track, she needed to average 6.5 miles a day, or 45 miles a week, and decided to sign up to 10 Ultra Challenge events, starting with 66 miles (106km) on the Isle of Wight in April.

Dani said one of the toughest moments came a month later, when she fell 30 miles (50km) into the Jurassic Coast route in Dorset. She was advised to stop after injuring her knee and ankle.

“It’s frustrating when you physically can’t finish due to injury or heat exhaustion,” explained Dani. “It also affects your mental strength.”

Determined to continue, Dani went on to complete 62 miles (100km) from London to Brighton – one of her personal highlights of the year, as she really enjoyed the route through the city.

Next, she headed to the Lake District, where she described the steep uphill sections of the course as “intense”, adding: “I walked it during a heatwave and even at 3.30am, I was sweating.”

A highlight for Dani was walking from London to Brighton

A highlight for Dani was walking from London to Brighton

Struggling with the unstable stones underfoot, Dani said she and a group of other walkers she met during the day supported each other through the challenging terrain.

Later in the summer, she had to withdraw from the Cotswold Way Challenge, due to heat exhaustion, but completed routes in the Peak District, North Downs, South West Coast and Chilterns.

Monmouthshire Building Society is a corporate partner to Shelter Cymru and Dani said another favourite moment of her challenge was walking on a treadmill at the branch in Newport in October.

Dani, Treasury Middle Office Manager, raised funds by inviting supporters to guess how many miles she would walk that day, adding: “I loved being in the branch and being able to meet members.”

Unfortunately, the treadmill overheated part way through the day, but never one to give up, Dani carried on at nearby PureGym to reach the seven hours she had planned.

Fundraising at Monmouthshire Building Society in Newport

Fundraising at Monmouthshire Building Society in Newport

Dani admitted that with a month to go, she doubted whether she could achieve her goal, but she stayed strong, and completed her challenge on 29 December – with two days to spare.

“I don’t even know where to begin,” she laughed. “I’m tired and achy but I did it! I’m so proud of this achievement.

“I achieved a lot in 2023, but this will be what I take forward with me as a symbol of not giving up.”

Dani, from St Brides, Newport, spent 780 hours walking in 2023 and raised more than £800 for Shelter Cymru. She said she was “immensely grateful” to everyone who had made a donation.

Dani's Ultra Challenge medals

Dani’s Ultra Challenge medals

Penny Salter, Fundraising Officer for Shelter Cymru, said: “We were absolutely blown away by the challenge Dani took on last year to raise money for Shelter Cymru – we’re so grateful to her and her colleagues at Monmouthshire Building Society for their incredible support. Congratulations, Dani – every step you took will make such a huge difference in these challenging times. Diolch o galon!”

Shelter Cymru helped more than 22,000 people last year, including nearly 7,000 dependent children, who were in housing need or experiencing homelessness.

There’s still time to donate through Monmouthshire Building Society’s Just Giving page.

17 January 2024

By Liz Day

‘It was a proud moment for me’ – Community Fundraiser Neil goes back to school

‘It was a proud moment for me’ – Community Fundraiser Neil goes back to school

Community Fundraiser Neil at Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw

Walking up to the gates of Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw took Community Fundraiser Neil Davies right back to his first day at school in the 1980s.

Neil had fond memories of his time in the classroom and was excited to be invited back 30 years later to speak to current pupils about his work at Shelter Cymru.

“It was a really proud moment for me,” said Neil, who dreamed as a youngster of growing up to work for a charity.

Neil, who has been working as Regional Fundraiser for South Wales for a year, was invited to Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw in Pontypool as part of the First Give programme.

First Give encourages young people to identify social problems, like homelessness, in their communities and research charities which work to tackle those problems.

Pupils must work together on a social action project, which can include campaigning, raising awareness or fundraising for their chosen cause.

Rhiannon Youssef, Programme Manager at First Give, said the scheme has positive effects on students’ personal development, adding: “It also creates a more cohesive community, linking schools with charities operating in their local area.”

On stage at the First Give school final

Setting up for the First Give school final

During their second lesson, pupils are asked to decide which charity they would like to support and are encouraged to get in touch.

Several groups chose to support Shelter Cymru, including from Bishop Hedley High School in Merthyr Tydfil, Pentrehafod School in Swansea and Radyr Comprehensive School in Cardiff.

Neil was delighted to hear from the teachers and pupils and went along to meetings to tell them about Shelter Cymru’s work defending the right to a safe home in Wales.

He explained that Shelter Cymru uses advice, campaigns and support to fight the devastating impact of the housing emergency on people and society.

Neil continued to support the students throughout the term, as they worked on their presentations. He also went along to the final, where the winners were awarded a £1,000 grant for their charity.

Rhiannon said: “The highlight of the programme for me is attending the school final. It’s always such a joyous occasion and culmination of the whole programme, where we celebrate the hard work the year group have done for their charity.”

Neil explained there were a lot of benefits to taking part in First Give: “The possibility of potential new fundraisers, making greater links with the local community, the element of raising awareness and, of course, the possibility of winning the £1,000 grant.”

Between 2014 and 2023, First Give has empowered nearly 200,000 young people to make a difference, with 1,254 charities winning the £1,000 grant.

For more information about how you can support Shelter Cymru, visit our fundraising page

28 November 2023

By Liz Day

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Christmas Carols for Shelter Cymru!

Christmas carols are a great way of spreading some festive joy; you can have fun and raise money for Shelter Cymru to support those children who will spend Christmas morning in an emergency bed and breakfast or hostel, often cramped into one room with their whole family and limited facilities.

You can organise carol singing anytime in the lead-up to Christmas – all you need is somewhere with enough room for you and your choir. You could sing carols:

  • at work in the main lobby, canteen area or travel around departments
  • at a local community or village hall
  • on a high street or in a local supermarket
  • at your Church or Chapel
  • on the train or at the station.

Please remember if you sing on private property (train stations, shopping centres, etc.) you must obtain permission from the owner.

Ask for donations as you sing (we can send you collection tins or Gift Aid envelopes) or you can set up an online fundraising page or Justgiving and ask for donations.

Download carol sheet

Rachel’s Story