Dave Collins, Neil Spicer, Suzanne Beckett, Tom Moss, Perry Doyle, Tom Lines, Jenny Collins, Joe Down and Danny Sharpe.
Complete a 12km Mud Assault Course – The Gauntlet
To help one another through the course and ensure we all finish together. This changed part way through to a team building exercise.
It has taken a little while for the Chelmsford office to put together something for their DofE Diamond challenge as ours was not quite as successful as most. Our challenge was a 12 km mud assault course called ‘The Gauntlet’ in one of the most picturesque parts of Essex, Finchingfield.
An extremely cold April morning
After a warm up we headed off, hitting our first stream within about five minutes. I have to use the word stream very loosely here as in fact this was knee deep as it had rained considerably in the week leading up to our challenge. The water was shockingly cold!
The first mud pit was about a foot and half deep, Suzanne struggled and ended up leaving her trainer in the mud but with help from Neil and Dan, she was saved and so was her trainer.
At the 1km mark we reached a river which was waist level on me, who at 5 foot 1, am a little shorter than the other team members.
As well as rivers and mud pits there were various obstacles along the way, such as cargo nets and wooden walls to climb through and over.
At about 5km we reached a bank along the river that we had to slide 10ft down, into about three foot of water. Everyone in our team had gone down the slide and I sat at the top contemplating whether I really wanted to go down…..but went for it and this is where the story of the challenge ends and moves to the best team building exercise I could have ever wished for. As I hit the water I knew something was not quite right as when I put my hand down I couldn’t feel my foot. As I am sure you can appreciate, I panicked when I lifted my leg form the water and my foot was facing in the wrong direction. I was struggling in the water but within seconds the lads were in the river and pulling me out.
It was obvious now something was seriously wrong and my colleagues shouted to a nearby marshal for help. Frustratingly the marshal managed to drop her phone in the water. Panic hit at the realisation we were stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way of contacting help.
The guys assessed the situation and organised themselves into little groups taking on various roles to find help or to keep me warm.
Dave took control of looking after my leg and kept it elevated, ensuring no one came near it. The cold weather helped to reduce pain and swelling.
It took half an hour the first help to arrive, but no medic. I was wrapped up in a foil blanket but this point some of the team were themselves starting to deteriorate very quickly with the cold so they were encouraged to carry on to keep warm.
First Aid assistance eventually arrived after an hour, with the priority being to give me gas and air to relieve the pain…thank god!
Eventually they transported me back to the start line to meet the ambulance which arrived about half an hour later.Things could have been a whole lot worse for me had it not been for the quick thinking of my teammates. They were without doubt amazing as they looked after me with great care and compassion but kept my mind occupied so I wasn’t thinking about what had happened.
The end result of our DofE challenge was that only two of the team finished the course and I ended up with a dislocated foot, broken ankle and leg and now have two pins, but we did manage to raise £1,287.60.
For me the past five months have been an additional challenge. Firstly being away from the office for nine weeks and not being able to thank my team mates personally. Secondly I have needed the encouragement I get every day from my colleagues in the office as I recover. So as well as having an amazing team on the day, the Chelmsford office has also been supportive and I am so pleased to be a part of it.