On Saturday 3rd June 2023, Military vs Cancer hosted a remarkable event, the Loch Lomond Challenge, to drum up vital donations for those affected by cancer. 

With over 70 participants including military personnel, veterans, civilians, and our very own Graeme McCabe and Jason Fenwick, the fundraiser encompassed a range of activities – including canoeing on Loch Lomond, walking a portion of the West Highland Way, or a combination of both. Here’s a little run-down of how the day unfolded, recapped by Graeme, our cloud UC voice engineer…

A gruelling day filled with kindness and camaraderie 

The teams began their journey from centre 81 in Garelochhead, having enjoyed a hearty breakfast courtesy of the event's main sponsor, Be11a JS. The atmosphere was brimming with excitement as participants embarked on their chosen challenges, fully fuelled for the day ahead.

The arduous walk – led by experienced mountain leaders John, Nicola, and Phil – spanned 11 gruelling hours, with each step representing the determination and resilience of the participants. Meanwhile, the paddle and split participants – guided by Grant, Andy, Tom, and Kenny in the canoes, accompanied by Neil, Dean, Jamie, and Claire in the support Rhibs – conquered their challenge within a 10-hour timeframe. 

Loch Lomond’s serene beauty provided a stunning backdrop as the participants paddled their way to victory, with their efforts symbolising the strength and unity in the face of adversity.

The success of the Loch Lomond Challenge would not have been possible without the unwavering dedication of the support team. These individuals tirelessly drove the support vehicles, ensuring that participants received the essential food and water at the designated rendezvous points on time. Led by Military vs Cancer's own Dizzy, alongside Rory, Martin, and John, these unsung heroes played a vital role in enabling the participants to accomplish their goals.

Looking ahead to future fundraising 

The event surpassed all expectations, doubling the number of participants from the previous year. The overwhelming support and generosity from donors resulted in an impressive surplus of £15,000 – with £688 of that total comprising our Vapour duo’s efforts.

Military vs Cancer plans to build on this success and has already begun preparations for the next challenge in 2024. Keep a close eye on the charity’s social media platforms for updates and information, as they strive to make the next event an even greater triumph in the fight against cancer. You can also take a look at the upcoming events on Vapour’s cards, here.

Lastly, Military vs Cancer would like to express their sincerest gratitude to everyone who contributed to the event's success. The participants, the support team, the sponsors, and, most importantly, the generous donors who made this endeavour possible. Every contribution to the tally and act of support makes a tangible difference in the lives of those battling cancer, and your unwavering support is truly commendable.

Fancy adding to the total? Vapour's associated JustGiving page is still live and accepting donations here, if you’re able to spare anything large or small. 

With sights set on further fundraising ambitions this year, we’re gearing up for two exciting new stamina-testing events to support our nominated charity, Military vs Cancer – a charity that pledges support for veterans and investment into cancer research.

Motivated by the opportunity to not only push their physical limits but also raise vital funds for the organisation, the Vapour team is proud to be plunging ourselves into the intensive Loch Lomond Challenge on 3 June 2023.

The famous landmark, located in Scotland, is known for its breathtaking landscapes and serene waters – making it a perfect location for a day of philanthropic activity in the great outdoors. 

Starting at Ardlui and ending in Balmaha, those taking part will have three options to choose from, to transit the beautiful sights – to walk 24 miles, canoe 18, or combine the two.

Commenting on the scale of the upcoming event, Graeme McCabe, cloud voice UC engineer and charity champion, commented: “This is by far the largest initiative we’ve headed up this year. And, having done a pre-event warm-up of the route myself, I can confirm it’s not one for the faint-hearted. It does, however, present an extraordinary experience for willing recruits, who are keen to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.  

“We’re excited and motivated to participate in the ‘real thing’ in just a few weeks’ time, and are grateful for the continued support of our friends, family, and Vapour’s wider network, as we work towards our fundraising goals as a collective”

Graeme will be joined by Tim Mercer, our CEO, Jason Fenwick, lead cloud infrastructure engineer, and Jordan Stephenson, senior cloud and network engineer — amongst a number of other candidates — on the day of the challenge. 

The Leeds Marathon, scheduled for 28 May 2023, is another highly-anticipated event that hopes to drum up a few extra funds for Miltary vs Cancer – bringing together runners from all over the world to compete in the scenic city.

Paul Goodrick, Vapour’s voice engineer, will be lacing up his trainers and bounding across the concrete to compete for a new ‘personal best’ in the 26.2-mile course. Joined by the familiar face of former colleague Mark Taylor, we’re sure the pair will rack a handsome tally up ahead of the Loch Lomond Challenge.

Both events serve as important fundraising opportunities for Vapour to support our nominated not-for-profit, Military vs Cancer.

But it’s not just about totting up donations – it’s also about coming together as a team and making a meaningful difference in the lives of others, creating awareness, and extending hope too. 
If you would like to support our team’s upcoming efforts, you can donate through our dedicated JustGiving page, here.

If you know anything about Vapour, it’s that we don’t do things by halves. That’s why, on Monday 6 March, we’re doubling up on the fundraising efforts at HQ — with two events underway to help drum up funds for Military vs Cancer.

In the spirit of our business development manager, Mark Taylor (sorry, Mark!), we’re donning our most outrageous patterned cotton fabrics, for Vapour’s sh!t shirt competition. As well as employees and friends of the business, plus residents at the mill we call home, we’re encouraging as many people as possible to wear something fun to work, and donate £2 to our JustGiving page.

Come on, we’ve all got one somewhere! So, dust your favourite piece off ahead of the big day, add a few quid to the tally, and share your pictures on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, using the #VapourFundraising hashtag. Don’t forget to tag us! 

The excitement doesn't end there though. We’ll also be putting our culinary skills to the test and running our very own bake sale at Vapour’s Huddersfield office. From fairy cakes and fondant fancies to fresh pastries, fruit scones, cheesecakes, and more, our bake sale hopes to be the hit success it was last year. And who doesn’t like to indulge in a sweet or savory treat from time to time?

If you’re keen to get your hands on some of the goods, you can find the stall in the reception at Heritage Exchange in Lindley, from 10am-5pm. If you fancy whipping up some extra food to bolster what’s on offer, we’d appreciate any donations on the day too.

2023 is just around the corner, which means it’s not long until we kickstart our fundraising activity for Military vs Cancer. With a jam-packed calendar of events – including a cocktail making masterclass, sh!t shirt competition, and kayak around Loch Lomond – it’s safe to say we’re excited to drum up some handsome funds.

But Vapour has done enough talking for now. That’s why we’re inviting the charity’s chairman, David Bathgate, to take a turn in the hotseat, and share more about the organisation’s work to-date, hopes for the future of fundraising, and why working with businesses like Vapour is so important. Take it away, Dave…

When was Military vs Cancer founded?

Military vs Cancer was founded in January 2018 as a fundraiser, and we gained status as an official charity in May 2022.

And what was the motivation behind launching the charity?

The loss of far too many friends and family members to cancer – in particular my brother in June 2017.

Talk us through your motto, ‘by sea, land, air and all, together let’s make cancer fall’:

The motto incorporates all three military services – the Royal navy, the Royal Air Force, and the British Army – and all those who support us.

How much have you managed to raise so far?

Approximately £160,000 – and counting!

What kinds of things do the donations support?

We support military and Ministry of Defence personnel – past and present – who are suffering the effects of cancer. Most recently, we have sent a family overseas on a memory making holiday, made home modifications for a soldier to provide some independence, and sent a family away to The Lakes as a patient recovers from surgery.

As we are a new charity, we unfortunately cannot support everyone. But as a military organisation, we felt we must do all we can to support those outside of our network – so we therefore decided to support Maggie’s for at least the next 12 months too.

Tell us about your favourite fundraising activity to-date:

That’s a tough one, as they have all been amazing! Our fundraising is all based around bringing military and civilian personnel together to fight cancer, which always results in having a great time whilst supporting those in need.

I suppose my favourite was the Field Gun Pull, which saw over 200 people from across all three services come together to pull a one-ton Boer War Field Gun 330 miles – from RAF Scampton in Lincoln to His Majesties Naval Base Clyde in Helensburgh Scotland. We met so many incredible people on the way, but I was mostly surprised at the fact 200 military personnel all together got on so well… we don’t always play nice!

And what’s something in the pipeline that you’re looking forward to?

Our Loch Lomond Challenge coming up in June next year will see around 80 recruits canoe 28 miles, walk 32 miles, or a combination of the two, the length of Loch Lomond. It’s a beautiful setting for a fantastic get together of likeminded people, determined to make a difference – coordinated by Vapour’s very own Graeme McCabe.

Why is working with businesses like Vapour so important to you?

Vapour gives us the opportunity to increase our reach to a far greater audience, which in turn highlights our services to people that may not have heard of us. Without this support, we are caught in our own network of military personnel.

As well as being highlighted to likeminded companies that also support Military vs Cancer, Vapour will have the opportunity to take part in our fundraising events – such as our annual ball and Loch Lomond challenge.

Complete the following sentence: Military vs Cancer is…

…focused and determined to be the difference those suffering from this horrible disease need us to be. Our Military background will not let us fail, and we will fight to ensure we do all we can to help.

Finally, what are your hopes for the charity in 2023?

To increase awareness of the charity, develop business sponsorships with the help and support of companies such as Vapour, and to continue building on our already solid foundations. Here’s to a fruitful year!

Want to donate? Head to the JustGiving page, today. We’re incredibly grateful for donations large and small.

Having recently shared the news of our partnership with Military vs Cancer, we’ve seen a surge in the number of queries eagerly anticipating what’s in store for 2023. And the Vapour team has been busy behind-the-scenes, planning exactly that.

Over the next 12 months, the collective will be rallying together to drum up as many donations as possible, through a host of individual, business, and public activities. But they can’t do it alone. By sharing our fundraising calendar, we’re not only holding ourselves accountable to our promise, but we’re also hoping to see a few extra faces spurring Vapour on from the side-lines.

Whether you earmark one date or all eight, donate fifty pence or one hundred pounds, both Vapour and Military vs Cancer will be grateful for any support received – with all funds providing relief to cancer patients, their families, and formally-appointed carers across the British Isles.

Here’s what awaits us in 2023…

February – quiz night

Taking to Mad Frans in Leeds on Thursday 2 February, we’ll be putting our general knowledge to the test for our first charity event of the year.

If you’re keen to be involved, pencil it in your diary and keep your eyes peeled on our LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for more information. Or, if you’d rather have the invite land straight in your inbox, why not sign up to our monthly newsletter, The Download?

March – bake sale

Get your mixing bowls and oven gloves at the ready, because in March we’re bringing back the Vapour bake sale. Savoury or sweet, kitchen favourite or twist on a classic, we look forward to seeing a full table in our HQ reception on 6 March.

As well as welcoming donations via a table-top tub, you’ll be able to add to the tally through our JustGiving page.

March – sh!t shirt competition

Come on, we’ve all got one in the back of the wardrobe somewhere! Also on 6 March, we’re encouraging Vapour employees, as well as other residents at the mill we call home, and friends of the business, to get involved by wearing a sh!t shirt to work.

So, dust yours off ahead of the big day, add a donation, and don’t forget to tag us in your pictures on social using the #VapourFundraising hashtag.

May – Leeds Marathon

If you’ve followed us on our social channels for a while, you’ll know we have a couple of avid runners amongst the Vapour team. Business development manager, Mark Taylor, and voice engineer Paul Goodrick, will be lacing up their trainers for the Leeds Marathon on 14 May.

The official 2023 route is a looped course that starts and finishes at Headingley stadium, totalling 26.2 miles in length. With training already underway, we’re looking forward to seeing who finishes in the quickest time! Unsurprisingly, they’ll be on the hunt for sponsorships too.

June – Loch Lomond challenge

Ever kayaked around Scotland’s famous Loch Lomond? Neither have we – but there’s a first for everything! We’ll be putting on our wetsuits and picking up our paddles for this event hosted by our charity partner on 3 June, along with 80-100 other willing participants.

Whether you want to come and cheer us along, can spare some top tips and words of encouragement, or have any generous donations, we’d be grateful for your support.

September Yorkshire Coast relay

On 1 September, some of the team will be passing the baton on a scenic route along the Yorkshire Coast. Starting at Whitby and finishing at Bridlington, the 40+ mile stretch will be a challenge of endurance and mindset – and any sponsors will be very welcome. Let’s hope the weather picks up by then!

September – cocktail making masterclass

It wouldn’t be a Vapour events calendar if there wasn’t a sniff of networking involved. Returning to Mad Frans in Leeds on 21 September, we’ll be inviting friends and partners of the business to channel their inner mixologist for one night – with an expert demo of the hottest drinks around.

If you’re thirsty for a ticket, watch this space!

September – Autumn ball

The 2022 event, hosted by Military vs Cancer, raised an incredible total of £28,583.15. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 16 September 2023 has already been earmarked for a second instalment of the ball.

Hosted at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, tickets cost £60 and are currently on sale – email info@militaryvscancer.com for further details, and to purchase. We look forward to seeing as many familiar faces as possible, suited and booted for the worthy occasion.

You can find our JustGiving page, here.

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