Conwy farmer a step closer to mental health Kilamanjaro trek thanks to Dragon Cheesemakers

A young farmer preparing to trek mount Kilimanjaro in aid of mental health charity MIND is a step closer to his challenge thanks to kind hearted cheesemakers at South Caernarfon Creameries.

Meilyr Williams, 19, is preparing for a six-day trek to the highest point in Africa, in a bid to raise awareness of mental health issues in the rural economy.

He’s received a boost to his fundraising challenge thanks to sponsorship from the team at South Caernarfon Creameries dairy co-operative, which proudly owned by its 130 farming members across North and Mid-Wales.

He has so far raised more than £1,000 towards his trek thanks to a £250 donation from SCC, which is based at Chwilog near Pwllheli.

Meilyr’s family run the Ty Gwyn farm in Conwy where they have 500 sheep and a herd of beef cattle.

The former Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy pupil who went to Eglwys Back primary school is currently in the first year of a three-year degree studying Football business and media at the University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) in Manchester.

He said: “I want to raise awareness of mental health in the rural economy.

“Me and my family have not been directly affected but we know of a lot of people who have suffered from anxiety and depression.

“Mental health is a big issue generally in the rural economy because of the financial worries people face and also their lifestyle – it can be very hard, physically demanding, work and also lonely at times particularly in winter.”

“There are a lot of challenges and pressures which farmers have to cope with even at the best of times.

“I think it’s good for people to know that they can talk about these things, and that there is support from organisations such as MIND out there if they need it.”

The Kilimanjaro trek is expected to last 12 days and include around nine days of walking through forests, passing ridges, valleys and otherworldly lunar landscapes.

It is scheduled to go ahead in August or September 2020, and there is the potential for it to be postponed if needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rising from the savannah at 5,895m above sea level in Tamzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano and its snow caped summit is the highest point in Africa.

Meilyr has been told he needs to be determined and resilient to face the sub-zero temperatures and very thin air of the mountain peak on this tough challenge.

He has been training for the challenge by going on regular walks including the three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales and hiking Snowdon, as well as work outs in the gym and cycling.

He said: “SCC are a really good local business and we know them because of the Dragon cheese that we buy in our family. It’s a really community minded company and it’s good that they use milk from local farmers.

“I was really pleased when they said they would sponsor me as it’s gets me a lot closer to the fundraising target.”

He added: “I am going with a group from my university. I saw the trek and that it was in aid of MIND and I thought that would be a good cause to raise funding for.

Megi Williams, of South Caernarfon Creameries said: “It’s a great challenge that Meilyr is going on and a fantastic cause to support too.

“We are pleased to support someone from the local farming community and also very glad to help raise awareness of mental health support that is out there for people.”

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