Only 3 Days to go until Ógie reaches Everest Base Camp!

Ógie landed safely in Kathmandu on Tuesday 10th April after flying 7 hours to Dubai then onward 5 hours to Kathmandu. After a day of exploring on Wednesday and an informative evening with a full trek briefing he got a good night’s rest for what would be an early start the next morning to begin his Everest Base Camp Trek Challenge on Thursday 12th April!

Day 1 for Ógie involved flying into the world’s most dangerous airport in Lukla, with a mountain runway strip of only 2800m. Once safely landed he and the expedition team set off on the first leg of the trek towards the small town of Phakding and witnessed spectacular views on route!  After a night’s rest in Phakding, on Day 2 he began his ascend to Namche Bazaar with time to explore the Sherpa capital – it is a town full of trekkers, coffee shops, bakeries and stores, and there was even an Irish Bar in the middle of it all!

The morning of Day 3 began with a steep climb out of Namche Bazaar towards the Everest View Hotel, Ógie reached the highpoint of his day at 3880m with his first breathtaking views of Everest! He then descended towards the town of Khumjung, where he handed over stationary supplies to a teacher at Sir Edmund Hillary School, and visited the Edmund Hillary Hospital in Kunde. After descending to the main trail he spent the night in Kyanjuma at a sleeping altitude of 3600m!

Lukla Airport - Copy
On route from Lukla to Namche
Lukla to Namche
Lukla to Namche - Water Supply
Lukla to Namche - Pint on the way
Approaching Namche
Approaching Namche (2)
Day 3 - Exhibition Team
Day 3 - Getting the first views of Everest
Day 3 - Above Namche heading towards the Everest View Point
Day 3
Handing over stationary supplies to a teacher at the Edmond Hilary Community School in the Khumjung Valley - Copy

 

Ógie woke up to a beautiful sunrise on Day 4 with spectacular views of Everest in the background, he then trekked onwards to arrive at Thyangboche at 3867m to set up in a very basic tea house. He got the opportunity to stop at the Thyangboche temple which is where all Everest Mountaineers are blessed before trekking further.

After spending the night in Thyangboche, Day 5 commenced and trekking began for Ógie to Dingboche at 4450m. He and the expedition team descended through the forest and across valleys entering Pangboche. After a short lunch in Khumbu he trekked onwards across a wooden bridge then steeply climbed up into Dingboche at 4530m, where he would rest up for the night in a sleeping altitude of 4350m.

Day 6 for Ógie has involved spending the day in Dingboche to allow all the mountaineers time to acclimatise as they have now reached 4800m. At this point, Ógie is still feeling good but there are fears now setting in that the altitude symptoms will begin kicking in tonight whilst sleeping at a very high altitude and trekking tomorrow to 5000m!

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Day 4 (2)
WhatsApp Image 2018-04-16 at 13.24.18
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Day 5 – Waking up in Tengbuche with Everst in the background then enroute to Dengbouge at 4450m, arriving in and exploring
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Day 6 (5)

 

It’s only THREE days until Ógie reaches Everest Base Camp on Friday! Don’t forget you can still donate to our ’40 for Forty’ campaign and support Ógie on his courageous challenge at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund…/showROFundraiserPage… any donation will go a long way for our four selected charities!😊

Ógie’s Everest Base Camp Expedition Trek Challenge

On the 12th of April 2018, Brian Cunning (Ógie), one of our directors, will commence his ascent on one of the world’s classic treks to the most iconic camp of all set at the base of the greatest mountain on earth, EVEREST!

After flying from Kathmandu, Ógie will land at the world’s most dangerous airport, Lukla Nepal. From here his journey by foot will take him from  of 2800m through Sherpa country, taking time to acclimatise before reaching Namche Bazaar in “very high altitude” at 3500m. Ógie will follow in the footsteps of many famous Sherpas & Mountaineers (past and present), surrounded by spectacular scenery experiencing the incredible monastery at Thyangboche, views of Ama Dablam, Everest and numerous other mighty Himalayan peaks. As Ógie approaches the base of Everest he will ascend into “extremely high-altitude” climbing Kala Pattar (“Black Rock”) at 5545m (18,192ft.) to view the summit of Everest. From here Ógie will continue to his final goal, Everest Base Camp and its magnificent setting at the foot of the Khumbu Ice Fall. He will spend 2 nights in camp with the expedition team, at a time when it will be bustling with numerous other expedition parties from around the globe making their preparations to summit when the 4-week summit window opens. Ógie will soak up the atmosphere in the entrance lobby to the Top of the World for 2 days, then tip his hat to the brave professional mountaineers and Sherpas and before heading back down the trail to commence his journey home.


Appeal!


“Hi, my preparations and training are now complete, and I set off from Dublin on 9th April to Kathmandu, Nepal. Then on the 12th April my challenge begins, and fingers crossed I will be able to cope with the rarefied atmosphere at “extremely high-altitude” where oxygen is less than 50% of what we enjoy at sea level. I would be truly grateful if you would donate to our “40 for Forty” campaign, (no amount is too large or too small) in support of our efforts to raise £40k for our four worthy charities. You can make your donation safe in the knowledge that every single penny you donate will go exclusively to our nominated charities, as I have personally funded all costs associated with my challenge.


Thank you very much for your generous support, Brian (Ógie)

Family Fun Day!

Our next upcoming 40 for Forty event is a Family Fun Day & 5-A Side Football Tournament which will be held in the Joey Dunlop Centre in Ballymoney on Sunday 15th April at 2.00pm.

This event is open to all our staff, family and friends and includes a BBQ for everyone, and bouncy castles, a disco dome and face painting for the kids! There will also be a 5 A-Side Football tournament held on the all weather pitch with prizes for 1st and 2nd places.

We welcome all staff, family & friends to join us for a fun day out whilst helping to raise funds for our ’40 for Forty’ campaign!

Abigail’s SkillBuild success signals changes in the pipeline!

Dowds Group are pleased to announce that our first female mechanical apprentice, Abigail Reilly, has achieved great success for women of the construction industry after ranking 1st place in the SkillBuild Pipework competition held by Northern Regional College in Newtownabbey. The SkillBuild NI competition is the largest multi-trade competition in the UK for young students and apprentices and Abigail was absolutely delighted with her achievement.

Abigail has now been entered into the Northern Ireland regional final of the competition which will be held in March at the NWRC Limavady Campus with a potential opportunity of representing NI at the Skill Shows UK following onto the WorldSkills finals in Russia.

 

Chosen alongside two other apprentices from a class of 30 to compete in the competition, Abigail impressed the judges who could not fault her work and rewarded her with full marks! NRC Plumbing lecturer, James McKeefry, hopes Abigail’s success will inspire other young women to enter into the male dominated construction industry and embrace all the opportunities available.

CIOB has reported that ‘women make up only around 13% of construction sector workers, a number that hasn’t changed much for two decades. Furthermore, that number flatters us when you consider that only 2% of on-site workers are female.’ These statistics make Abigail’s success even more substantial and we hope if more young women are inspired to join the industry to not hesitate. For further guidance about joining the industry and changing the face of construction please follow this link:  https://www.women-into-construction.org/ 

Everyone at Dowds Group are delighted with Abigail’s achievement and we will be fully supporting her throughout the remainder of the competition!

 

Chest, Heart & Stroke visit Dowds Group!

Our first ‘Health Matters’ event took place on Friday 26th January where Chest, Heart & Stroke visited our head office in Ballymoney to provide express health checks for our staff.

The checks provided staff with the knowledge of their cardiovascular risk factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, body composition, BMI & other lifestyle factors such as diet, which will enable them to make positive lifestyle choices. The health checks were very popular amongst our staff and we plan to hold many more over the next few months in our Belfast & London offices and across all our sites.

We would like to give a special mention of appreciation and thanks to Hannah, Amy and Colette from Chest, Heart & Stroke who carried out the health checks over the 2 days!

 

Students experience Grassy Meadow

Dowds Group had the pleasure of welcoming two electrical installation students on site to Grassy Meadow. Joe and Edison, who are students from Uxbridge College, were on site for a week’s work experience.

Grassy Meadow is a recent project of Dowds Group which involves the redevelopment of a day care centre that will provide 88 one-bedroom extra care housing units, a specialised Dementia Resource Centre and associated facilities. These modern homes will provide great facilities to older residents who want to continue living an independent life.

Joe and Edison, spent a productive week on Grassy Meadow gaining a valuable insight into the daily activities our site team are involved in, alongside main contractor Farrans.

Dowds Group are a firm believer that work placements and apprenticeships are an ideal path to building a good foundation for a career in the construction industry. We currently have 7 new apprentices on site Grassy Meadow, totalling our apprentice tally to 42 over NI and London.

Health Matters – Upcoming Events

Here are the most recent planned Health Matters events:

  • Chest Heart & Stroke will be providing Express Health Checks at the Ballymoney Office on Friday 26th January 2018 & Friday 2nd February 2018.
  • Staff survey help us address our current mental health status at the end of the month.
  • “Mental Health Awareness” programme in London scheduled for Summer 2018.

 

 

And our 4th Charity is… The Boom Foundation!

As determined by the staff ballot held at our Christmas at the Races event, we are delighted to announce that the the fourth and final confirmed charity for our 40 for Forty campaign is The Boom Foundation!

Why – The Boom Foundation?

The Boom Foundation is the only charity in NI supporting patients with Sarcoma. 50% of their money goes towards Sarcoma UK research and the other 50% goes directly to benefiting the patients – all their work is voluntary with no overheads.

Our staff member, Carolyn McKiernan, experienced first hand the support and help The Boom Foundation offers and it is a charity Dowds Group would like to take the opportunity to give a little back for the help they provide to so many people.

We would like to thank all those members of staff who donated towards The Boom Foundation and the other three nominated charities, Tiny Life, Road of Hope and Welcome Organisation at our Christmas at the Races event!

‘Christmas at the Races’ event reins in £5000!

This year our Christmas Party was particularly special as it was the launch of our ‘40 for Forty’ campaign. We held a ‘Christmas at the Races’ event at The Elk, Toomebridge on Friday 22nd December 2017.

After a delightful 3 course meal, our night at the races event kicked off! We would like to thank all of those companies who sponsored this event, firstly Malone Lighting as our main sponsor and the following 8 companies who sponsored each individual race:
Solmatix Renewables, KEW Electrical, Chroma Lighting, Gordons Electrical, Edmundson Electrical, Greenville, Midland Fixings Ltd and Crown Industries.

In addition to the races we also held a staff ballot to determine the fourth charity for our campaign. The four charities included in our staff ballot were The Boom Foundation, Tiny Life, Road of Hope and Welcome Organisation.

The charity with the most donations on the night was named as the final charity for our ’40 for Forty’ campaign, to find out who our fourth charity is follow the link:  And our 4th charity is…

We would like to thank the sponsors and especially all our staff for attending and the generous donations they made at the event. We are proud to announce that in total we raised a magnificent amount of approximately:

£5000!

 

Our Four Selected Charities

Why – Electrical Industries Charity (EIC)?

EIC support the electrical industry with well-being solutions to transform and rebuild the lives of people by offering support programmes for apprentices, employees and their families and pensioner support.   This a charity that is held close to our hearts, especially after the support they provided for the family of a former Dowds Group employee  who sadly passed in 2014.

 

Why – Macmillan Cancer Support?

 Macmillan have millions of supporters, professionals, volunteers and campaigners who give support, energy and inspiration back to individuals and families of those who have battled cancer.  With support services throughout the UK including centres close to our three offices in Ballymoney, Belfast & London, we have all experienced in some way the help Macmillan can provide – we would like to take the opportunity to give a little back for the help they have provided to so many of us.

 

Why – Aware NI?

It is in unfortunate fact that the construction industry suffers a higher incidence of mental illness than any other industry in the UK.  As well as providing support services, AWARE deliver mental health and well being programmes into communities, schools, colleges, universities and workplaces. Dowds Group have worked with AWARE for a number a years, availing of their advice and guidance in the prevention and treatment of mental ill-health.

 

Why – The Boom Foundation?

The Boom Foundation is the only charity in NI supporting patients with Sarcoma. 50% of their money goes towards Sarcoma UK research and the other 50% goes directly to benefiting the patients – all their work is voluntary with no overheads. Our staff member, Carolyn McKiernan, experienced first hand the support and help The Boom Foundation offers and it is a charity Dowds Group would like to take the opportunity to give back for the support they provide to so many people.