Introducing Royston Howell
Royston (second from left) has just returned from the Arctic where he undertook a guided trek of 120km from Stilla to Karasjok under the guidance of local Arctic veteran Mike Thornewill, sadly Royst was prevented from completing the challenge.
18 months prior to this event Royst completed an 80 mile trek across the Sahara Desert and he is already pushing us to confirm the next Beaumond House Challenge. Royston, or Royst as everyone know’s him, has now raised more than £6,000 through these fundraising events. It is because of an incredibly personal connection with Beaumond House that he has chosen to support our work. Royst’s Grandad (Kenneth Howell) and his Aunt (Diane Howell) both spent time in Beaumond House and were in the care of the team when they died.
As a young boy Royst was incredibly close to his Grandad, (Kenneth Howell) they were actually more like best friends than Grandfather and Grandson. Kenneth taught him how to ride his bike, took him fishing and took him on his first holidays. Royst is the first to admit that his Grandad completely spoilt him and his two younger sisters Kirstie and Rachael. One of his earliest memories is of a tree at the bottom of Ken’s garden which used to ‘grow money’ when the Grandchildren were around. They would run up to him shouting “Grandad the tree has sprouted again!” Sadly in June 2011 Ken died, after having received care and support from Beaumond House, leaving Royst devastated and uninterested in doing anything. He did contemplate undertaking a Coast to Coast walk to raise funds for Beaumond House but for one reason or another it just didn’t come together. He then heard a rumour that Beaumond House were recruiting for a Sahara Trekking Challenge and this was the inspiration that he needed, he walked into the fundraising offices on Millgate to find out more and paid his deposit there and then. He went on to raise thousands more through sponsorship. After he had completed the event he immediately came back and asked the team what the next challenge was so that he could sign up for it. The Arctic Challenge it was.
Sadly the family were struck with further immense sadness when Royst’s Aunt, Diane Howell, died in Beaumond House in November 2013. Another reason for him to support the work of the hospice.
However Royst’s Arctic Trek was not to be the success story he had planned for. After completing 3 hard days of trekking across the Finmark plateau 200 miles north on The Arctic Circle in some of the most extreme conditions imaginable, he was struck with a particularly nasty virus and was advised he would not be allowed to continue. His childhood dream was to get to the Arctic, he’d read the adventures and tragedies of Shakleton, Scott and Amundsen so for him to be in a position where he would not complete the challenge was devastating. After an emotional plea where Royst stood determined to continue, he was categorically told he was not in a fit state to be able to. Extremely unwell he had to make his own way back to the teams base at Alta by hitching a lift on a Skidoo, where he spent a lonely 3 days awaiting the return of the successful trekkers. When they did, his emotions at this point were all over the place – overjoyed at seeing his team mates but heartbroken not to be a part of the success story.
Royst now wants to encourage anyone who has ever given half a thought to undertaking a challenge event to think about undertaking one for Beaumond House. He said: “These challenges have changed my life, they have been such a big part of my life over the last two years and have given me the focus I needed, especially after my Grandad died. I raised most of the money for the Arctic challenge by holding a curry night at a local pub and managed to get this match funded which doubled the total raised, it does not have to be all about signing up sponsors to reach your target.”
He’s now eagerly awaiting the announcement of the next Beaumond House international challenge event!
This article featured in our Spring 2014 Newsletter, to read the rest of the newsletter click here.