An inspirational four-year-old schoolboy has raised £1,435 by climbing Pen y Fan on the first anniversary of his father’s death for the charity that fought to save his life.

Calan-James Rees, from Neath, who was joined by his mother Gemma Lewis and around 30 family members, walked up the highest peak in South Wales, which is situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park, in just 1 hour and 21 minutes in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance.

The walk was in memory of Calan’s dad, Sam Rees, who tragically died following an off-road motorcycle accident in Tairgwaith on 30 August 2020.

The family took Sam’s memory teddy bear, which was made out of his pyjamas and has some of Sam’s ashes in the belly, with them on the walk up Pen y Fan.

Calan, who has just started in the reception class at Ysgol Gwaun Cae Gurwen, was also joined by his friends Seren and Theo.

Proud mum, Gemma, said: “Calan found the challenge quite well and he loved every minute of it, even though it drained us it was all worth it. We had so much support from the community, family friends on the day. Sam’s grandparents, Henry and Elaine, cheered us on from the bottom of the mountain and had cups of teas and biscuits waiting for us all to finish. It was amazing, the pain and stress was so worth it, it has been an amazing experience for both of us.”

Ysgol Gwaun Cae Gurwen showed their support to its pupil Calan-James by raising £100 towards his fundraiser by having an in house sponsored walk around the school.

An emotional Gemma is delighted that they smashed the £1,000 fundraising target, she said: “I’m so chuffed all I’ve done is cry. I’m also chuffed for Calan, it shows he did it all in his daddy’s name for an amazing charity that deserves all donations. We wanted to finally give something back to these amazing people for all their dedication, love and effort in saving lives and trying to save lives every day.”

A local café in Ammanford – Ygeginfach Café Diner has also thrown its support behind Gemma and Calan by holding a charity cake event for the Wales Air Ambulance.

In December 2020, the Charity achieved its aim of operating a 24/7 service. Wales now has access to the service’s Emergency Department-standard critical care around the clock and to keep the helicopters in the air, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year.

Elin Murphy, the Wales Air Ambulance’s Community Fundraiser, said: “Congratulations to Calan and Gemma on reaching the peak and raising an incredible £1,435 for the Wales Air Ambulance. Despite the heartbreak they’re experiencing they were both determined to raise funds for the Charity that tried to save Sam’s life. At just four-years-old Calan-James walked up the highest peak in South Wales on the first anniversary of his dad’s death, which is incredible. They’re both are an inspiration! The charity would not exist without the support from fundraisers like Gemma and Calan-James.

“A huge thank you to everyone who supported them both during the challenge and donated to the fundraiser. The money raised, will help us to help others in need.” 

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance. These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.