An enduring taste for adventure - father and son’s marathon trek for good cause

A Morpeth businessman who spent some of his 70s climbing mountains in Europe and Africa is tackling a gruelling charity challenge a little closer to home.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 17th September 2020, 10:20 am
Bent Henriksen, right, and Troels pictured when they embarked on their trek along the Pennine Way challenge.
Bent Henriksen, right, and Troels pictured when they embarked on their trek along the Pennine Way challenge.

Bent Henriksen, managing director at Morpeth-based nutritional supplement maker Pharma Nord UK, is in the closing stages of a 268-mile three-week walk and hike along the Pennine Way – which stretches from Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.

The 82-year-old is undertaking the marathon trek with son Troels Henriksen to help raise funds for the Newman Holiday Trust, which provides holiday breaks for children with special needs.

It is the latest in a series of challenges that the Danish-born businessman has signed up for at a time of life when most people are putting their feet up.

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One of the many eye-catching views along the Pennine Way.

In the last 10 years he has successfully climbed Africa’s tallest peak (Mount Kilimanjaro), the highest mountain in the Alps (Mont Blanc) and Europe’s highest mountain (Mount Elbrus in Russia).

Bent, who lives in Mitford, said: “I’ve enjoyed taking on challenges my whole life. I’ve done marathon running, mountain climbing and now an endurance walk.

“I keep myself physically fit and active – I trained for the Pennine Way by walking at least 10 miles a day for the last two months – and getting into the outdoors is something I really enjoy, so this combines the two things perfectly.

“As well as the challenge of completing the route, there is the opportunity to see some of England’s most dramatic and beautiful scenery along the way.

“We’re raising money for a really good cause too and we’ve already raised more than £11,000 (as of Monday, September 14).”

The Newman Holiday Trust provides week-long residential summer holidays for children with special needs, catering for over 120 children aged five to 16 each year.

Staffed and run entirely by more than 200 volunteers, the trust has been operating since 1981 and has helped thousands of children with special needs enjoy holidays they will never forget.

Troels, a finance director who volunteers at the Newman Holiday Trust, said: “This year, because of Covid-19 we’ve had to cancel the holidays that would have taken place, which was a real shame for the children as they and their families get such a lot out of them.

“We thought the least we could do was to try to raise a little money so that 2021 and beyond can be even bigger and even better – and what better way than a little walk?

“So I thought why not do the Pennine Way with my dad, he’s only 82. I mean, how hard can it be?

“Being serious, my dad has always kept himself extremely fit and is in incredible condition for someone in his 80s, so I’m sure he will take this latest challenge in his stride and probably finish before the rest of us.”

Bent has been involved in business in the UK since arriving in the early 1970s and after senior roles in a range of engineering companies, during which time he was named North East Businessman of the Year and was awarded an OBE for services to business, Bent set up the UK arm of Danish-based multinational supplement manufacturer Pharma Nord in 1988.

Since then, the company has become a multi-million pound turnover business selling a range of more than 30 nutritional supplements to retailers, health food stores, pharmacies and customers across the UK.

Bent and Troels aim to complete the challenge on Saturday. To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/troels-and-bent-do-the-peninne-way