Gruelling Gemini challenge pays tribute to Shropshire businessman

A sport-mad Shropshire businessman who died last year is to be honoured and remembered this month when two of his close friends take on one of the UK’s most gruelling endurance challenges.

Norman handing over money to the Severn Hospice after completing the London to Paris bike ride
Norman handing over money to the Severn Hospice after completing the London to Paris bike ride

Norman Carter, Business Development Manager at Telford firm Fabweld Steel Products and former army fitness instructor, died at The Severn Hospice in August last year.

This month would have marked his 70th birthday. To honour and celebrate the occasion, two of his close friends and former army colleagues Charles Wilkinson and Richard Salmon, both aged 66, have signed up to complete the formidable Fan Dance – not just once but twice – in an effort to raise vital funds for the hospice.

Former army colleagues Charles Wilkinson and Richard Salmon have signed up to complete the formidable Fan Dance to raise money for Severn Hospice
Former army colleagues Charles Wilkinson and Richard Salmon have signed up to complete the formidable Fan Dance to raise money for Severn Hospice

Now 50-years-old, the Fan Dance is an exercise used to determine whether UK soldiers have the mental and physical determination required to join the Special Forces. It involves trekking 24km across rough terrain whilst carrying a rucksack weighing 35lbs.

This Saturday, January 18, Mr Wilkinson and Mr Salmon will undertake the extraordinary challenge across the Brecon Beacons. The following day, Sunday, January 19, they will then attempt to repeat the same event to complete what has become known as the Fan Dance – Gemini Edition.

The challenge is set to push the former soldiers to their absolute limits but will be a fitting tribute to Mr Carter, who himself was a Quartermaster Sergeant Instructor (QMSI) in the Army Physical Training Corps and loved sport.

He was no stranger to undertaking a challenge or two having completed the 300 mile London to Paris cycle ride at age 64.

Mr Wilkinson said: “The aim of this challenge is to honour our brother Norman in a way he would live and pay tribute to his wonderful life. Additionally, we want to provide support on behalf of Norman’s family to the Severn Hospice which cared for him so well in his final days.”

FSP Managing Director Richard Hilton added: “This is a particularly gruelling challenge to embark on but a tremendous way to remember Norman. We wish Charles and Richard the very best of luck and we hope as many people as possible will get behind them to raise funds for Severn Hospice.

“We are so lucky here in Shropshire to have such a remarkable facility on our doorstep. It does an amazing job supporting people and their families.”

The team at FSP are also planning to take part in various other events throughout the year to celebrate Mr Carter’s remarkable life, the sports he loved and to encourage others to step out of their comfort zone.

James Benting, special projects manager at FSP, is planning to climb the Matterhorn whilst FSP product developer Nick Ralph will be attempting the London to Paris bike ride.

Mr Carter’s son Wayne, who is also operations director at FSP is planning a solo kayak expedition from his birthplace in Tywyn to his home town in Clynnog-Fawr on the north coast of Wales.

Mr Carter’s grandson Tristan will round of the challenges by competing in his first boxing match.

Click here to sponsor Mr Wilkinson and Mr Salmon to help raise funds for Severn Hospice.

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