Ex-firefighter who organises gruelling Arctic expedition raises £1m for good causes

A FORMER firefighter who left the service to organise expeditions to the Arctic has used his expertise to help others raise more than £1m for worthwhile causes.

Thursday, 31st May 2018, 10:30 am
Updated Thursday, 31st May 2018, 10:36 am
Lee Peyton

 Former firefighter's Edinburgh business helps fuel £1m charitable giving
Lee Peyton Former firefighter's Edinburgh business helps fuel £1m charitable giving

Lee Peyton founded Breaking Strain Events with his business partner Garry Mackay in 2008, initially organising gruelling charity challenges in their spare time that they then went on to complete themselves.

As their reputation for arranging unique adrenaline charged activities grew, individuals, corporates and charities from across the UK began contacting them to organise fundraising events, sponsored expeditions and money-raising fun days on their behalf.

In 2016, Lee left his role as station manager with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to focus on growing the enterprise full-time.

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Since then the company, which is based in Timber Bush, Edinburgh, has organised multiple events that have helped raise 80 per cent of the current £1m fundraising total.

It was in 2011 that the duo organised their first event for 28 people, the Sally Challenge, after a close friend wanted to put on an event to raise money for the charity that was supporting his mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer.

Completing The Great Scottish Run and the Three Peak Challenge in full firefighting gear gave Lee and Garry the bug for organising unique, fundraising challenges, initially launching Breaking Strain to get free kit that they’d then test and review while undertaking their own charitable expeditions.

This year the company has organised seven treks to the Arctic, Kilimanjaro and Alps as well as a number of events in the UK.

Lee said: “When we started organising events for others we quickly realised that we could have a bigger impact by putting on the events rather than running them ourselves.

“In the past we might have raised £500 running a marathon between us, but by setting up events like Run the Blades, which is now in its fourth year, we can have a far bigger financial impact and in turn help more charities continue to do the great work that they do.”

Now, thanks to help from Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost programme, which is funded by Digital Scotland, the firm is appearing higher in Google searches, which has resulted in more enquiries from potential clients.

Lee said: “We’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with some great Scottish and national charities that are doing truly amazing work and are staffed by incredibly dedicated people. What we do is provide our clients with exciting once-in-a-lifetime challenges that they would otherwise find incredibly difficult to organise themselves.”