After losing their friend and colleague to cancer last year, Darren Purvis and Luke Westoe have decided to undertake a punishing fundraising challenge in his name.
Andrew Grounsell, a talented architect from Newcastle, died in October aged 54
Andrew Grounsell, a talented architect from Newcastle, died in October aged 54.
The husband and father-of-two faced bowel cancer for two years and his bravery and positivity have inspired Darren and Luke (from Birtley and Morpeth respectively) to raise funds for two cancer charities – Maggie’s and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
To complete The Andrew Grounsell Challenge, Darren and Luke will not only climb the ‘three peaks,’ Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis, but also cycle to and from them all, too.
This means they will cycle over 1,000 miles, ascending over 40,000ft by bike, and climbing a further 10,000ft by foot over the three peaks.
Darren explains: “Luke and I worked alongside Andrew for ten years.
“We know this challenge will be very tough, physically and mentally, but it will be nothing compared to what Andrew went through.
(L-R) Luke Westoe, Alan Shearer (Patron, Sir Bobby Robson Foundation), Karen Verrill (Centre Head at Maggie’s Newcastle) and Darren Purvis
“We picked the two charities because of the connection Andrew had to both. Maggies was a place that he and his wife Jo used to go to seek advice and to take time out during treatments. It was also where Andrew and I walked to on the day he told me of his illness.
“And the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation also felt like a fitting charity because Andrew had been due to go on to a drugs trial just before he died. We hope we can do Andrew and both charities proud.”
Alan Shearer, a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, recently met with the pair to find out more about their fundraising.
Alan says: “Luke and Darren really have their work cut out with this challenge.
“Having done a bit of cycling myself, I know how tough it can be. The idea of having to climb the three peaks on top of all those miles does not sound like fun at all. I take my hat off to them.
“I wish them both the very best with their training and fundraising. And I hope everything goes as planned in August.”
Darren, Luke and Andrew all worked together at Space Architects in Newcastle. It was a colleague from Space Architects who, in a eulogy at his funeral, summed Andrew’s character up as ‘Dedicated, thorough, determined and decisive. Friendly, funny and patient.’
Darren continues: “If you were to ask his colleagues and clients about his key characteristic, it would be that Andrew always made time for people, no matter how pressured the environment.
“He had a laid-back nature and was happy to spend hours mentoring younger colleagues or painstakingly explaining complex technical issues to a client for the thousandth time.”
As an architect, Andrew designed many outstanding buildings throughout his career. From thoughtful and innovative school projects across the north of England such as Cramlington Learning Village, to large and complex higher education schemes such as Durham Gateway for Durham University.
19 Close House, Heddon-on-the-Wall, is one of the buildings designed by Andrew Grounsell
There are also what his colleagues describe as ‘small masterpieces’ such as the Key in Science Central, a stones’ throw from St. James’ Park, the Graham Sports Centre at Maiden Castle and 19 Close House at Heddon-on-the-Wall.
Darren adds: “Andrew was amazing in the way he dealt with his illness and how he continued to carry on with life as normal and you never heard him complaining about his illness.
“He continued to work and push himself right up until the end, even taking part in design reviews via Skype when he was too weak to come in to the office. Andrew leaves behind a fantastic portfolio of work from a career that spans thirty years, however his greatest legacy is his wonderful family.”
The Andrew Grounsell Challenge will begin on the 25th August and, all being well, will end on 2nd September 2017.
• START – Newcastle
• 2 day cycle south, England into Wales
• Climb Snowdonia (Peak 1)
• 1.5 day cycle north out of Wales, into England
• Climb ‘Scarfell’ in the Lake District (Peak 2)
• 2 day cycle north from England into Scotland
• Climb ‘Ben Nevis’ (Peak 3)
• Cycle east via Edinburgh
• 1 day cycle south from Edinburgh via Bamburgh and back to Newcastle
Sir Bobby Robson launched his Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise over £10 million to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.
The work funded directly benefits cancer patients in the North East and Cumbria and plays a significant role in the international fight against the disease.
Karen Verrill, Centre Head at Maggie’s Newcastle says, “We would like to thank Darren, Luke and everyone at Space Architects for supporting us this year.
“Maggie’s Newcastle is located in the grounds of the Freeman Hospital and serves the whole of the North East and Cumbria. In four years, over 80,000 visits have been made and over £6million has been secured in financial aid for people with cancer in the region.
“Great architecture is vital to the care Maggie’s offers; every aspect of our space has been carefully crafted to create our calm and uplifting environment. We know that people with cancer need more than medicine. Our role is to be alongside them, helping people to understand more clearly, to feel more in control and to feel less isolated, often transforming a person’s cancer experience in a really constructive way.
“Maggie’s Newcastle is funded entirely through voluntary donations, fundraising and people who choose to leave us a gift in their will. It’s thanks to amazing supporters like Darren and Luke that we’re able to help those affected by cancer, when they need us the most.”
Please follow Darren and Luke’s Andrew Grounsell Challenge progress on Twitter (@AG_Challenge) and on Facebook.
To make a donation, please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/agchallenge.