Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Lynn Dodd, I’ve been married to Chris for 34 years and live in the country near Dunblane; we have 2 children, Graeme and Laura, who are both happily married. I’ve worked for Zonal for almost 11 years, current role, Senior Software Delivery Manager; managing around 50 people across 12 projects. Not surprisingly, this keeps me pretty busy! However, 3 years ago I found another passion, Hope for Children, and now I'm a Hope Ambassador!
What made you choose to support Hope for Children?
I had always wanted to get involved in charity work, so when Zonal chose Hope for Children as their charity partner, it was a no brainer. How did I get involved! I met Ed Fletcher at Zonal’s 35 year anniversary, where he mentioned climbing Kilimanjaro, and the rest is history. Well not quite! I have been incredibly lucky to work with Hope; it’s been a life changing experience and I have loved every minute of it.
In your own words, how have you supported Hope for Children in the past?
Fundraising is my real passion and I have found that it has enabled me to draw on skills I didn’t even know I had, rekindle friendships I’d lost, been overwhelmed by the peoples generosity and never lose the excitement from every donation. But I haven’t done it alone and have been fortunate enough to have amazing support; from my husband who has been my emotion strength. Although, he has said that if I do another challenge, he’ll divorce me! Well bang goes 34 years of marriage. My 2 children, of whom I’m immensely proud, and the inspiration to give other children the same opportunities in life as they have. To my sister who has lived the dream alongside me. Not to mention my friends, old and new, and the team members from each challenge.
Fundraisers have ranged from bake sales to my now infamous gin tasting; wine tasting to pub quiz’s with robopint pouring guinness; golf silent auctions and raffles, to name but a few. Note the strong food and drink theme!
Tell us about how you organised your Kilimanjaro and Great Wall challenges. Did you always think they would be such successes?
The first challenge is always the hardest. I totally underestimated just how all-consuming the effort involved would be to physically train and prepare myself for what would be the hardest challenge of my life, whilst fundraising.
Training to climb Kilimanjaro made me as fit as my twenties, but the final 18 hour summit trek taught me I was mentally strong enough to overcome any challenge life could throw at me.
The elation of reaching the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro was only surpassed by our project visit to Amani where we got to see where the money we had raised was making a difference. It was humbling to see what could be achieved and we learned more about the work Hope for Children are doing and was inspired to learn how we given vulnerable children the childhood they deserve.
What next! Trekking 100 miles of the most amazing remote unrestored parts of the Great Wall of China was a very different challenge. It was incredibly mountainous, presenting truly spectacular views. We traversed sections where the crumbling wall had sheer drops on either side; scaled steep rock faces. We worked as a team to get through the difficult sections.
Lastly, the cycle challenge – what could be easier than cycling 260km from Scotland to England and back! As a novice cyclist I had never been on a road bike before, and had no idea how hard this was going to be. After 2 years of training for challenges I wrongly thought my new found fitness would get me through. 16 weeks of training later; cycling over 1,000km I was as ready. It rained for the first 5 hours of the challenge, but by the afternoon the sun came out and we completed day 1 after 12 hours in beautiful sunshine. I knew from experience that having completed day 1, I could complete the challenge, and wasn’t wrong. We were lucky enough to have a support team. This gave the opportunity to everyone to take part in the challenge and was invaluable to its overall success. Big thank you to Glenn and Gavin for organising the route.
Are you currently looking forward to another adventure?
Would love to. Nothing confirmed as yet; but watch this space!
What tips do you have for those who would like to organise their own Hope for Children event or take part in a challenge?
Do your research; speak to people like myself; think long and hard before committing. Once in, give it 100% ! Work hard as a team, both training and fundraising, as that’s where your strength lies. I hope my challenges will inspire others of follow their own dreams, motivate to get fitter, gain new skills and meet people, all while raising money for a great cause, Hope for Children!