Rock climber, long-distance horse-rider, hotel worker, newspaper reporter, marathon runner, desert traverser – and of course, Christopher Ward Challenger. John Maddison is an adventurer who’s done it all – including running seven marathons in seven days (across the desert). His goal is simple: to explore unfamiliar parts of the world, and report on them for the benefit of those back home. We’re proud to have helped him along the way.
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One of our most inspiring Challengers, Sammi is a leading British paralympian. After being paralysed below the waist in 2010, Sammi took up wheelchair racing, coming second at the 2012 London marathon. Since then, she’s tasted success at the European Championships and competed at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. At the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics (held in 2021), Sammi won silver and bronze medals in the T53 400m and T53 100m events.
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The first musician to be given Challenger status, Alex Hedley joined the scheme after winning a CW-sponsored competition at the Thame Town Music Festival. His music follows the English pastoral tradition popularised by the likes of Fairport Convention and Nick Drake. Tracks like One Day and Possibility showcase his lyrical and musical ability – with the focus on melody and subtlety.
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Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan adventurers
It’s not every day you get a mountain named after you – especially if you’re a watch brand – but when Christopher Ward supported a group of adventurers from Scotland on their expeditions to central Asia, that was the result. The drive and spirit of the Scottish climbers is perhaps the perfect example of what Challenger stands for.
A former BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, Amber is a renowned Team GB skeet shooter. She joined the Challenger programme aged 16 in time for the Rio Olympics – where she competed in the women’s skeet event. Due to represent her country at Tokyo 2020, she had to pull out after testing positive for Covid-19. Hopefully, she’ll be back for Paris 2024.
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The joint-winner of CW’s Need For Speed competition in 2018, Jody Fannin is one of the most impressive young racing drivers in the UK. Originally from Surrey, he won the 2012 British GT4 Championship and the 2017 European Le Mans Series.
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When it comes to talent and – literally – drive, Paige Bellerby has it all. At the age of 14, she won the British Rallycross Championship, the event’s youngest-ever winner. In 2018 she was joint-winner of CW’s Need For Speed competition, and is now serving in the British Army, where she’s been accepted onto the Army Karting Team.
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An outstanding all-round sportsman, yacht-racer Sam joined the Challenger programme in 2015. As a junior sailor, he won both gold and silver medals in the world championships, while achieving one gold and two silvers in the adult competition.
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A sailor since she was three years old, Lizzy began competing in yacht racing as a teenager. Her specialty is solo long-distance (or ‘offshore’) events – and she’s competed in races like the Les Sables-Azores-Les Sables and the Mini Transat. She joined the Challenger programme in 2018.
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