Friends to honour popular architect

Luke Westoe; Sir Bobby Robson Foundation patron Alan Shearer; Karen Verrill, Centre Head at Maggies Newcastle; and Darren Purvis.
Luke Westoe; Sir Bobby Robson Foundation patron Alan Shearer; Karen Verrill, Centre Head at Maggies Newcastle; and Darren Purvis.

A punishing fund-raising challenge is taking place in memory of a popular architect.

Darren Purvis and Luke Westoe have put together the challenge in memory of friend Andrew Grounsell, who died last October, aged 54.

Andrew Grounsell.

Andrew Grounsell.

The husband and father-of-two – who designed Cramlington Learning Village among others – faced bowel cancer for two years.

And his bravery and positivity have inspired Darren and Luke to raise funds for two cancer charities – Maggie’s and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

To complete The Andrew Grounsell Challenge, Darren and Luke will not only climb the three peaks – Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis – but also cycle to and from them all, too.

It means they will cycle more than 1,000 miles, ascending over 40,000ft by bike, and climbing a further 10,000ft by foot over the three peaks.

Darren said: “Luke and I worked alongside Andrew for 10 years.

“We know this challenge will be very tough, physically and mentally, but it will be nothing compared to what Andrew went through.

“We picked the two charities because of the connection Andrew had to both. Maggie’s was a place that he and his wife Jo used to go to seek advice and to take time out during treatments. It was also where Andrew and I walked to on the day he told me of his illness.

“And the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation also felt like a fitting charity because Andrew had been due to go on a drugs trial just before he died.”

“We hope we can do Andrew and both charities proud.”

Shearer, a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, said: “Luke and Darren really have their work cut out with this challenge.

“Having done a bit of cycling myself, I know how tough it can be. The idea of having to climb the three peaks on top of all those miles does not sound like fun at all.

“I wish them both the very best with their training and fund-raising.”

The Andrew Grounsell Challenge will begin on August 25, and end on September 2.

Karen Verrill, Centre Head at Maggie’s Newcastle, said: “We would like to thank Darren, Luke and everyone at Space Architects for supporting us this year.

“In four years, over 80,000 visits have been made and over £6million has been secured in financial aid for people with cancer in the region.”

To make a donation, please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/agchallenge.