July 24, 2019

Conquering Northern Spain in aid of littlelifts

Mills & Reeve have kindly chosen littlelifts to be their Charity of the Year, so we interviewed Stephen King, Solicitor and Partner, to find out more about his recent fundraising challenge.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a 57 year old husband (to Joanne) and dad (to Harriet, Edward and Oliver).  Also a lawyer – a solicitor – and have been a partner with the law firm Mills & Reeve since 1989. I manage the firm’s insurance practice, so I travel a lot as that is some 60 specialist insurance defence and coverage lawyers across 5 of our 6 offices (Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Norwich and London). My own specialist subject is defence medical malpractice, so I act for doctors, surgeons, health care organisations and independent and private hospitals and their insurers.

Oliver is a graduate surveyor who graduated from Oxford Brookes last year and works with Savills in their Energy team in Cambridge. He is the one who first bought a motorbike (which I gave him a hard time about) until he then suggested a road trip last summer, for his 21st birthday. So, over the winter of 2017/18 I passed my bike tests (finally in May), bought the bike in June and in July 2018 we left for a 2000 mile road trip across Europe. It was amazing.

What was the challenge? 

Two really. The first was to tour northern Spain on the bikes, cover the distances in the heat of the summer, ride the mountain roads (Los Picos De Europa and the Pyrenees) and leave some time to chill out. The second was to draw attention to littlelifts and raise money by providing updates, photos and reports of the trip.

Why littlelifts? 

I had offered to take on the chairmanship of the office charity committee on 1 June this year. We looked at a number of charities, which were all worthy causes for our support over the next year. Having drawn up a short list, it was a unanimous decision of the committee that littlelifts were deserving of our support, and that was confirmed by the staff vote. Hearing from Oa, initially, and then Kay and beneficiary Jill, about the work littlelifts do and the impact it has, was inspiring. Knowing that you had achieved all you had from such a small base, and hearing about your ambitious plans to further develop, left no doubt we made the right choice.

What did you love the most about your experience?

 The encouragement we were given from family, friends and colleagues, as well as Oa and Kay from littlelifts and those who donated to the fund raising- that was great. All part of contributing to the #littleliftscommunity of people supporting the charity and through the charity, sending a message that for those reeling from news of their diagnosis or coping with the treatment – others, even strangers, were thinking about them.

I have to say that we had been going to travel anyway, so without a doubt we both loved the trip itself, northern Spain, the Picos and Pyrennees mountains, the coast, the fact that we largely had the roads to ourselves, the occasional beach where we could cool down, the tapas, cold beer, the people we met, my clumsy Spanish.

Any advice for anyone else wanting to take on a fundraising challenge?

Plan properly, but do it – it does not matter how much you raise – even more important is offering support for a worthy cause. Just do it. We were both glad we did!

What an incredible achievement! We cannot thank Stephen and Oli enough. You can find out more about their fundraising here.


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