“Life should have adventure in it, especially if you’re at Virgin” - these are the words of Chris Hall, one of Virgin Atlantic’s much-loved pilots. Not only is Chris an invaluable team member, but he lives and breathes the ‘Virgin attitude’, spending his spare time organising and undertaking extreme challenges to raise money for worthy causes.
While the events raise money, they also encourage staff and their family members to work towards something out of the ordinary, push themselves out of their comfort zones, and achieve something life-changing that will benefit others.
Originating back in 2008 with a climb of Mount Fuji in Japan, Chris and his team of organisers have gone on to host over 30 charity adventure challenges, with approximately 1,500 people having taken part.
Just before the festive season kicked off, 63 Virgin staff, family and friends gathered at Richard’s Kasbah Tamadot hotel in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains to embark on an extensive climb, stretching Morocco’s 4,160 metre mountain, Toubkal. Competing with crampons, ice axes and extreme snow throughout the journey, the team were later told by their guide that despite their adversity they were considered the largest single group to reach the summit.
On completing the challenge, the group were invited to visit the Eve Branson Foundation where they were introduced to the local women's sewing group. While in the mountains, the challenge team also planted 30 fig and pomegranate trees in the grounds to leave a positive mark on the area.
Aside from deserving a round of applause for their tireless efforts, the Virgin Atlantic team, family friends and other Virgin colleagues also raised over £25,000 in the process – once again reinforcing their ‘have fun, do good’ model.
"To date approximately 1,500 places have been filled and I have run over 30 charity adventure challenges, and everyone has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in the process. The remarkable nature of the challenges is that they are done by staff in their own time and completely at their own cost. They are organised by myself and colleagues who have kindly come alongside to help – again, in our own time. From start to finish our adventure challenges are by the people and for the people.
“The trips are an incredibly powerful engagement of our people drawing together the different strands of the business that often would not otherwise meet. The challenges themselves create bonds and friendships that last and the bonhomie is second to none.
"The feel good factor is very strong with all of our challenges having an element of ‘do good’ in them.
"A good number of our adventures end up (immediately after the ride or climb) with a visit to the community we have fund raised for, which can be just as powerful an experience as the challenge itself.” – Chris Hall
Plans for adventure challenges throughout 2016 are already in place and we can’t wait to see what the team get up to next!