Over 16 days, Ian, Head of Summer Programmes at the University of Sussex, and his seven-year-old daughter May are virtually climbing Mount Everest to raise funds for Nunhead Knocks. Here’s what inspired the challenge and how it’s going so far.
"I love a challenge and in normal times do a lot of open swimming events, so when my daughter, May, told me that her Brownie group (6th South Deptford Brownies) was giving them weekly challenges during lockdown, including virtually climbing Scafell Pike at home, I thought it was a great idea to keep motivated.
"We did Scafell Pike in a week – which is about 6,000 stairs – and really enjoyed it, so decided to keep going. We set our sights on Northern Ireland’s Slieve Donard, then Ben Nevis and Snowden and, by the end of three weeks, we had climbed the highest peak in each country of the UK – a total of around 27,500 stairs
"We wanted another challenge and, so we thought, why not Everest? And as we’re very aware of Nunhead Knocks and the great work it’s doing to support the community, it seemed like a good opportunity to raise some money too.
"The climb to the summit of Mount Everest should be 58,070 stairs, so our target is about 3,650 steps a day – which takes about an hour and a half – and we usually spread this over three chunks of climbing which we tend to do before breakfast, around lunch and then in the afternoon.
"To pass the time, we chat about all sorts of things, listen to music and sometimes mix up the speeds by doing one flight really quickly and one really slowly. On the final flight of each chunk, we climb together by holding hands and do a big high-five at the end. Plus, May decorated a special Everest water bottle which is keeping us nicely hydrated!
"The challenge has helped me and my partner, Ross, frame the wider impact of the Coronavirus pandemic to May and our son, Indy, giving them an understanding of life outside of our immediate family bubble.
They now know that if someone sponsors us £5, that can pay for a day’s groceries. It helps them understand how we are helping the community – they attend Ivydale School in Nunhead which is a great local community school, so have lots of friends and school staff who are virtually supporting us and cheering us on.
"We moved to Nunhead from North London about seven years ago – just before the kids were born – and it’s a lovely place to live. It has a great community feel and we want to support it in whatever way we can. This is just a small way to do this with the kids.
"It’s been amazing to see all the kind donations coming in so far and, when our climb ends on Bank Holiday Monday (25 May), we hope to have raised around £1000 to help Nunhead Knocks continue to support people in need."
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