A MILFORD man has raised more than £500 for Guide Dogs Cymru by taking part in an SAS-style challenge.

Mark Phillips, a senior support worker for Hafal, scaled Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons last Saturday (January 5) in a famous challenge known as the Fan Dance.

The challenge began with a 2,907 feet ascent, then after coming down the other side Mark turned around to reverse the route.

The return leg provided an even tougher challenge with a tricky ascent back up the mountain, known as Jacob’s Ladder.

Mark, 46, said: “I had been up Pen y Fan twice before so I knew what to expect, but this time I had to carry a bag with survival essentials weighing 10lb on my back.

"I was taking about 10 steps then stopping to breathe.

“Coming back down, it was so icy that I fell and hit my knee on a rock, but I still managed to complete the challenge in four hours 15 minutes.

“I’ve been training since last August at the local gym, and getting my father to drop me off 10 miles away so that I could walk back wearing a backpack.”

Mark was delighted to receive sponsorship totalling £570 for the Pembrokeshire branch of Guide Dogs Cymru, with some donors pledging as much as £50 apiece.

These include Scott Gregory, owner of Caddies Café in Haverfordwest, and Jonathan Gammon, who has a gym in Pembroke Dock.

“People have been great,” said Mark. “The manager of Kilgetty Co-Op originally pledged £20 but when he heard what happened he doubled it to £40.

“I decided to raise money for Guide Dogs after meeting branch secretary Eva Rich and her guide dog Oyster at Saundersfoot Harbour last summer.

"I also had a neighbour who was a guide dog owner and came to give a talk to our group about sight loss.

“I plan to do more challenges for Guide Dogs this year.”

To find out how you can support Guide Dogs in Pembrokeshire, contact Eva Rich on 01834 812868 or email rich9jl@btinternet.com