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The Three Peaks Challenge: Helping Children in Need (15 November 2013)

Considers the challenges people set themselves to help Children in Need.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the challenges people set themselves to help Children in Need.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a map of the UK.
  • Also, a two-seater sofa with a Pudsey bear on it.
  • Four adults will be required to lift the sofa.
  • Gather images of the DFS Three Peaks Sofa Challenge for BBC Children in Need, at:
  • Check the final total for the money raised by DFS for Children in Need from 30 October to add in Step 4.


  1. November is the month when a great deal of fundraising is done for Children in Need. We have Pudsey here to remind us of this.

    Briefly elicit suggestions from the children of ways in which funds have been raised in the past, perhaps in the school or community.

    Some fundraising is simple and painless, such as dressing up for the day, buying home-made buns and cakes.

    Some fundraising, though, can involve great challenges. We are going to consider one such challenge today.

  2. Show the map of the UK.

    That challenge is called the National Three Peaks Challenge. It involves climbing the three highest mountains (peaks) in Scotland, England and Wales.

    Locate Ben Nevis in Scotland, 1344 m, Scafell Pike in the Lake District, 978 m, and Snowdon in Wales, 1085 m.

    The Three Peaks Challenge is held every year. It involves climbing to the top of these three mountains within 24 hours. The distance walked on the peaks altogether is 26 miles. The maximum time the walkers can afford to be on each mountain is about four and a half hours. The road journey between them all is 462 miles and usually takes around 10 hours, in good traffic.

    The walkers face damp, swirling cloud and mist, and rocky, stony tracks that drain their energy and deprive them of sleep. They even climb in the dark, wearing head torches. Obviously the walkers need to be very fit, but many are beaten by tiredness and harsh conditions.

    Flop down on the sofa at this point.

    I suspect the walkers would all be very grateful to flop down on a sofa like this at the end of the arduous 24-hour experience.

  3. Some workers at DFS (the furniture company) decided to set themselves the challenge of climbing these mountains to raise money for Children in Need. They divided into 3 groups of 12 and each team took on a different mountain. Now that would certainly be a lot easier than doing all of them in 24 hours.

    The four adults come in and lift the sofa, pushing you off, then stand there, holding the sofa up.

    The challenge was a bit harder than that, though. Each team of 12 carried a two-seater sofa up the mountain. Over loose, rocky scree, through swampy bogs, in mist and driving rain, in the daylight and during the night, heaving, pulling, pushing all the way to the top and all the way down again. Each team succeeded in doing it within 24 hours on 30 July.

    Show the images of the DFS Three Peaks Sofa Challenge. Tell the four exhausted-looking adults that they can put the sofa down now.

  4.  The aim was to raise £5,000 for Children in Need. Donations were accepted until 30 October 2013 and the final total is  . . .  (check the final total money raised).

    This challenge cost the participants effort, required perseverance and called for good teamwork, but they got a lot out of it and know that the money will be used to help children having a tough time.

Time for reflection

What challenge could you set yourself to help Children in Need this year?

Perhaps you would like to choose something that will cost you something in terms of effort. 

Dear God, 
We are very aware that there are many children in need, 
many who are less fortunate than ourselves, 
in our own country and all over the world. 
Thank you that we can all help in some small way. 


‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65) 

Publication date: November 2013   (Vol.15 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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