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Wales & West Utilities charity climb

A group of Wales & West Utilities gas workers donned their walking boots to embark on a hike across Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons in aid of a little boy with a rare genetic brain disorder.

The colleagues, who are all based out of the company’s Treforest depot, took on the Pen Y Fan walk to raise money for 22-month old Felix Forbes who was born with lissencephaly and miller-dieker syndrome.

Lissencepahly literally translates to ‘smooth brain’ meaning that during his mother’s pregnancy his brain didn’t fully develop the full six layers a normal functioning brain has, but instead has only four. The condition impacts in ways many causing problems like swallowing food and holding up your own head. At just three months old Felix’s parents were given the diagnosis that their baby boy would never walk or talk and told that most children with this condition don’t live past infancy. In spite of this Felix continues to surprise his medical team and family.

The Wales & West Utilities walkers, together with Felix’s family and Friends who ranged in age from 4 – 67, collected over £3000 which will go directly to Felix’s fund – Tree of Hope – to give him the best possible therapy and specialist equipment. Wales & West Utilities also provided match funding of £300 as part of a company-wide scheme which pledges to support the fundraising efforts of its colleagues.

The Tree of Hope appeal was set up by Felix’s parents, Dan and Alex, with a fundraising target of £50,000. Having raised over £16,000 to date, the money goes towards providing Felix with additional therapy and specialist equipment designed to support the work of the NHS.

Wales & West Utilities area engineering manager, Andrew Gwilym, was one of those who took part in the event. He said: “I got to know about Felix and his journey through my colleague Ian and his wife, Nicola, who are family friends of the Forbes. Hearing about the Beacons climb, myself and my colleagues jumped at the chance to do something to help raise these vital funds for Felix.

“We are thrilled that we have been able to play a small part in helping Felix and his family and we will look to provide further support wherever possible.”

HR Director Sarah Hopkins from Wales & West Utilities added: “We are committed to supporting the fundraising efforts of our colleagues. Individually they are making a difference to charities across Wales and the rest of the UK and our match-funding contribution is seeking to make the money raised go further.

“We hope this money will help Felix and his family.”

Wales & West Utilities provides the gas emergency service across Wales and the south west of England. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night.

The company is also carrying out a multi-million-pound 30-year mains replacement programme, across Wales and the south west of England, which began in 2002. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being replaced with new long-lasting plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years.