Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Leeds Castle’s hero conquers Africa's highest mountain

Ian Fagg is the Maintenance Co-ordinator for Leeds Castle, where he has worked for over six years. In September, Ian literally pushed himself to new heights by undertaking the Kilimanjaro Hiking Challenge in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

After over a year of disciplined training, climbing in the mountains of Cumbria in preparation, Ian flew out to Africa on the 12 September to begin his challenge of a lifetime.

Joined by a group of other dedicated fundraisers, together they attempted the incredible 5900 metre climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the world's highest freestanding mountain.

Ian raised a total of £2500.00 through his JustGiving fundraising page & sponsorship forms.

On returning from the climb, Ian said:

“I decided quite a few years ago that I would love to climb Kilimanjaro, but has taken me until now to get my act together and go for it, I also wanted to raise money for a good cause whilst I did it and so decided on Macmillan Cancer support as I have come to know so many people that have been touched by their work in both small and large ways.

Our trip followed the Machamé Route and we spent seven days on the mountain, instead of the normal six. This gives you more time to acclimatise to the altitude, even so it was a challenge that pushed every physical and mental boundary to the limits.

Although I didn't quite make the summit due to suffering from altitude sickness I did get to roughly 5600m!

The most important thing is that I managed to raise lots of money for an amazing cause, so thanks to everyone who has supported me.” 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Celebrating Excellent Kentish Harvest Produce at Leeds Castle

As the nights are drawing in and the countryside of Kent turns to the rich hues of autumn, Leeds Castle has teamed up with some popular local food producers and our shops are bursting with delicious autumn goodies made right on your doorstep.

We are celebrating excellent local produce at Leeds Castle with Nip from the Hip Liqueurs, made near Maidstone, honey from a broad range of independent beekeepers across Kent, wines from Biddenden Vineyard and apple and pear crisps from Perry Court Farm, in the Stour Valley near Ashford.

James Sandy, Owner of our newest Kent supplier, Wantsum Brewery in Canterbury, said:

“The Wantsum brewery brand is founded on the rich history of Kent.  We are very excited to be supplying Leeds Castle as it's iconic status in Kent's history fits perfectly.  Further, it opens our product range to a huge demographic as it is visited by people from around the world”.

Nip from the Hip Liqueurs are made near Maidstone by Alison and Joy, a mother-daughter team. The inspiration for the company came from Alison and Paul’s wedding in 2011. Select guests were given hip flasks as a gift, filled with delightful Gin and Vodka based liqueurs made by Alison’s mother Joy.  Having a “nip from the hip” became common place in the day’s proceedings!  The liqueurs are made using Kent grown fruit to ensure the best possible quality.

Blue Bell Hill Apiaries produce honey without blending as other producers do.  Every time you buy from a new batch, it will have a deliciously different flavour influenced by the blooms in the local area at the time the bees were feeding.

Perry Court Farm is located in the Stour Valley in the finest Kent countryside near Ashford, surrounded by traditional apple and pear orchards, fields of fresh vegetables and summer fruits.  Run by Charlie Fermor, the family have been growing wonderful fruit and vegetables in a responsible and environmentally friendly way on the farm for three generations.

Leeds Castle is stocking their sweet and tangy apple and pear crisps, they are just sliced and air dried fruits; and juices from single varieties to show off the unique tastes.

Retail Manager for Leeds Castle, Bob Needham said:

“It’s wonderful to be able to partner with local business at the same time as fundraising to preserve the Castle for our local and international visitors. All of these products are truly excellent quality and ideal to put by for Christmas treats and gifts.

I’m glad to say many are firm favourites already, and our staff will be happy to help customers put together a selection of delicious foods and drink for that hard to buy for friend or family member.” 

You do not need an admission ticket for the Leeds Castle Shop at the main entrance and car parking is free. The shop is open daily from 10am – 5pm. Key to the Castle ticket holders can also visit the Castle Island shop daily from 10am - 4pm.