Aled and Co's 'burpees' raise much-needed funds for NHS visors

Aled Harries undertaking the burpee challenge

For Aled Harries, it started off as a chance to regain some fitness.

But ten days into his two week burpee challenge, the Crymych RFC man has now helped raise thousands for an important cause.

Harries, 31, has been helping promote the Crymych Community Project that has seen Frenni Transport Ltd make thousands of protective visors for NHS workers and community members.

Originally, the company put £600 of their own funds towards the scheme, a figure matched by Mansell Davies Ltd.

Members of the public then started to donate to the cause and help deliver the visors to Withybush and Glangwilli Hospital, as well as a host of other locations including Swansea and even Shropshire.

The local fire service have also been instrumental in the scheme.

And Harries explained how he saw a chance to help out.

“What Frenni have been doing has been so simple but effective,” he said.

“They are making these visors out of plastic binding sheets and even NHS workers are saying their brilliant.

“I’d been thinking about getting back to training and setting myself a target while I’m off work, and I saw an online challenge with burpees.

“I was also planning to do a fundraiser myself but because the masks were flying out I thought I’d get other boys involved and try to add to that.”

The challenge is simple. As many burpees as you can do in one minute on the first day, two on the second day, three on the third day – and that pattern continues right up until day 14.

Harries was quietly hoping for about 10 people to join him, but instead has 35.

They include Crymych team manager Iwan James, former Welsh prop John Davies (now 51), Pembroke RFC skipper Scott Powell and renowned opera singer Trystan Griffiths. 

Tom Turner (Bristol) led the way on day nine with 162 burpees in the allotted time, just two ahead of Elgan Vittle.

Everyone involved has been posting their videos on Social Media which has helped spread the word.

“Since we started so many people have been messaging me asking for the link so they can donate. I didn’t expect it to go off like this; it’s one of good things about meeting so many people through rugby."

Aled Harries Indeed, the amount raised stood at just over £7000 when the challenge started, but those doing the burpees have since helped push it to more than £17,000.

Another former Crymych man, Rhydian Wyn, is now based in Qatar and has pledged to donate a £1 for every rep done by the winner on the 14th day (Sunday).

But despite admitting some pain, Davies is enjoying pushing himself.

‘I quite like doing things to test my mind as I’ve always believed it’s the top two inches what counts.

“I thought this would be a real challenge and some boys were telling me I couldn’t do it. But the way I see it everyone is going through a tough time at the minute, and it’s going to stay tough long term.

“Something like this can focus the mind. I really believe in mental strength.

“But most importantly, it all helps get more visors made and our NHS frontline workers really need them right now.”

On Wednesday, builder Steve Edwards was taking the latest batch to Penblewin Car Park and was there from 11am-12.30pm. Those interested simply had to go to Pemblewin and look out for his Steve Edwards Builders van.

He was also in Pensarn Car Park, Carmarthen, from 1.15pm-2.45pm and then on Thursday, was at Market Hall, Crymych, from 5-6.30pm.

To donate to the Crymych Community Project, and help fund protective masks, click here.