How a Glastonbury Festival presentation led to a Tor challenge for Annie Maw…

ANNIE Maw – the long-serving former Lord Lieutenant of Somerset – is preparing to scale the Glastonbury Tor for the first time ever.

Mrs Maw is patron of the Festival Medical Services (FMS) charity, which provides medical support at events including the Glastonbury Festival, at nearby Pilton.

She has never been to the top of the 158-metre (518 foot) iconic landmark – even before she had her horse-riding accident in 2002 which led to her becoming a wheelchair-user.

But on Saturday, May 4, she aims to change that, using a specially-adapted chair to climb the Tor in an event billed as AAA – Annie’s Assisted Ascent.

The climb is a challenge as the route to the top of the Tor is steep and the terrain is rocky and bumpy.

But Annie says she is determined to succeed – both to support other wheelchair-users who face challenges in everyday life and to raise money for FMS, which has organised the effort.

FMS intends to give the sponsorship money Annie raises to two other medical charities, continuing a tradition throughout their 45-year existence, raising nearly £1.5 million for medical projects in the UK and around the world.

This time the money will be split between Motivation and Humanity & Inclusion.

Motivation is an international disability and inclusion charity, based in Bristol, which provides wheelchairs, training and support to empower disabled people in Africa and India to gain independence, improve their confidence and transform their own lives.

They are providing the all-terrain wheelchair that Annie will use on May 4.

Humanity & Inclusion works alongside disabled and vulnerable people around the world – particularly in countries affected by conflict, natural disaster and poverty.

Former nurse Annie said: “I’m taking on this terrific challenge for two reasons.

“Firstly, I want to highlight that being a wheelchair-user can bring many difficulties in getting around to places that able-bodied people take for granted – but we must keep pushing the boundaries and proving there is more and more we can achieve.

“Secondly, I’m doing it to highlight the hugely important work undertaken by Festival Medical Services as they head into the festival season in 2024.

“Of course, everyone who goes to Glastonbury or Reading Festival, or any other of the many outdoor events they cover, plans to have a marvellous time and never need to see a doctor or a nurse, but life isn’t always like that.

“And what is so wonderful is to know that if you do fall ill or have an accident, these great people are there to help you and give you an amazing standard of care – the same as you will receive in any hospital or surgery – just in the middle of a field – it’s incredible.

“It worries me that not enough people know about them and what they do, and that’s why I’m hoping this challenge will raise profile for them as well as money for the two charities they are currently supporting, Motivation and Humanity & Inclusion.”

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FMS chair, Nich Woolf, said: “We are calling the event AAA for Annie’s Assisted Ascent, but in the world of music festivals it stands for ‘Access All Areas’, so we thought they mirrored each other nicely.

“Annie already commands the respect and affection of people throughout our county from her time as Lord Lieutenant, but we think she will win even more admirers for taking on this dauntingly tough challenge – and rightly so. We are extremely fortunate to have her as our patron.”

Mrs Maw’s relationship with FMS goes back to the incident which left her requiring a wheelchair, in 2002, when she fell from her horse on the Mendip Hills – but she didn’t know it.

In 2021, she visited the Glastonbury Festival to formally present FMS with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Festival Medical Services at Glastonbury

Festival Medical Services at Glastonbury

At the presentation, paramedic Mike Gray approached her and introduced himself as the first person to give her care on the day she fell.

The pair had not met since the day of the accident, and both found the reunion a very emotional experience.

Mrs Maw said the event was “the best thing I did” as Lord Lieutenant and led to her becoming an FMS patron. She has spoken of how grateful she had been for receiving the best possible emergency medical care at the scene of the accident, which saved her life.

“I am well aware that I am only alive because of the advances of modern medicine and that if I had had my accident in some other parts of the world, then I would not have survived,” she said.

“I have got my life back because of the type of care I received and now I want to spend my life giving back.

“Festival Medical Services was born in Somerset and is head-quartered here – it is something Somerset can be really proud of.”

To sponsor Annie’s climb up the Tor, visit

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.