This isn’t your typical story about climbing Everest. I’m just an ordinary person – with a drive to achieve extraordinary things. I had an unassuming and fairly ordinary beginning brought up in Kelsall, near Chester, but like many others had an Everest to climb before even reaching base camp.
Suffering a mild form of epilepsy at nine years old shattered my confidence and self-esteem with panic attacks and anxiety. Relentless bullying throughout school and a lifelong stammer in my speech left me in a ‘victim’ mindset. What I’ve learnt is that we don’t always choose the challenges we face – but we can choose how we respond to them.
A fateful urge to try paragliding on holiday in Turkey aged thirteen unearthed my passion for the outdoors – a way to prove myself wrong and outdoor challenges became a way to overcome my self-limiting beliefs. Scuba diving, rock climbing, mountain biking, running fulfilled this urge to find out what else I could overcome.
My first walk in the Lake District in 2010 inspired the question ‘Where is Mount Everest?’
The question captivated me and climbing to the summit of the worlds’ highest seemed the ultimate achievement. Doing the Three Peaks Challenge in 2011 was the earliest step towards the goal, before climbing Mont Blanc in 2012 and heading to the Himalayas for the first time in 2013 to climb Baruntse (7,129m). Fundraising for good causes in the process has always been important to me and led to the honour of being a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer through Chester.
I’ve been lucky to have supportive parents albeit they were never going to sign a cheque for the Everest expedition, and since leaving sixth form college (and quickly abandoning the idea of university) I have funded my expeditions through corporate sponsorship. My first attempt to climb Everest in 2014 ended in disaster with an avalanche which tragically killed sixteen people and cancelled the expedition. In 2015 I returned when our team were trapped on the mountain with my team as a huge earthquake struck Nepal and devastated the country, whilst taking the lives of three team-mates at base camp.
This life-affirming experience left me asking: “had I been in that tent at base camp, what would I have left behind?”
I began fundraising for Nepal by cycling the height of Everest in one day and organising Walk4Nepal on the anniversary of the earthquake, which has now raised over £35,000 to date for PHASE Worldwide to support the earthquake victims.
Nowadays I’m fortunate to earn a living through professional speaking, writing and ambassador roles for Westgrove Group which allows me to focus on making the biggest difference I can.
Everest was just one step on a journey. Now I want to use that journey to create something bigger by inspiring other people to achieve their own Everest and put their ‘mind over mountains’.
Keep believing, keep achieving!
My adventures would not be possible without the sponsors and supporters who share my mission to inspire others.
I am proud to be the first-ever brand ambassador for The Westgrove Group, a bespoke security and facilities management firm, based in Warrington, Cheshire.
The Westgrove Group is an award-winning national provider of bespoke dual service security solutions, specialising in high profile corporate offices, commercial premises, shopping centres and football stadia, and my role involves inspiring their 1,500+ employees, partners and wider community around mental health and overcoming personal challenges.
Would you like to join the journey? I am looking to partner with inspiring brands and would love to hear from you to discuss opportunities. Please get in touch.