A TEAM of intrepid colleagues recently embarked on a charity challenge that saw them walk a kilometre for each year their Crediton company has been in business… all 50 of them!

Toby Wood, Steve Gale, John Wiggins and Malcolm Street, who all work for local vehicle repairer Fix Auto Mid Devon found within the Lords Meadow Industrial Estate, managed to complete the arduous trek from Okehampton to Ivybridge in just under 12 hours, raising an impressive £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

Such was the challenge, unfortunately five colleagues including company owner Louise Woolacott who started alongside them were advised to retire at the halfway checkpoint by the event organisers.

Said Louise: “The trek was absolutely brutal, so I can only applaud the fabulous four who made it all the way to the finish line!

“We knew it was going to be our toughest charity challenge yet, which is why we choose it to mark our 50th anniversary, but we really didn’t expect the course to be as challenging.

“The terrain, the warm weather, the steep hills and descents were savage. Toby, Steve, John and Malcolm really were like machines, they just kept going and going and were unfazed by what the course threw at us.”

Louise added: “Those of us who didn’t complete the 50km course have vowed to come back fighting next year!”

Louise explained that she completely underestimated the terrain and admitted that whilst she had walked on Dartmoor many times this wasn’t on the well trodden tourist paths.

She added: “Erika, our Operations Director, joined me and seven others as we set off from Simmons Park in Okehampton with about 100 others on the walk organised by Climb South West and we had our own guide.

“I realised after about three hours that I was holding the others up and so we split into two groups.

“I was advised to stop after 25kms as it was a point where I could easily retire (rather than have to be extracted off the moor at a more difficult point.) I’m really pleased that I took part though and everyone is determined to try again and complete it next time.

“I thought we would be able to tweet and do live Facebook updates through the day but it took everything just to put one foot in front of the other.”

The British Heart Foundation is particularly poignant to the team for the husband of a colleague recently needed emergency heart bypass surgery following a totally unexpected heart attack and another colleague’s daughter was born with a serious heart defect.

The business was formed in 1970 by Louise’s in-laws Geoff and Sheila Woolacott. It was an extremely humble business during those early days whereby Geoff repaired the vehicles and Sheila managed the books.

As his reputation as a fine repairer grew, so did the business.

Today, the business has two large operations – the family opened their second site in Newton Abbot 18 months ago – and employ 50 people across the two sites and repair approximately 3,000 vehicles annually.

Louise added: “Being part of a family-owned business that has served an area for more than 50 years is an incredible achievement and it’s one we are extremely proud of. The business actually surpassed that milestone 18 months ago but the pandemic put our celebrations on hold.”

To support the team and donate, please follow the details to the Fix Auto Mid Devon Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fixautomiddevon50kminaday? .