A Northumberland‐based businessman has set himself the challenge of a lifetime to climb Mount Everest in aid of a local cancer support centre.

Keen explorer, Paul Mordue, who runs outdoor education consultancy, Wild About Adventure, is on a mission to raise £50,000 for the Maggie’s Centre in Newcastle, alongside a campaign to ask companies and the crowdfunding community to support the costs of his challenge to take on the world’s highest peak.

Paul, who lives in Barrasford near Hexham with his wife and three children, has harboured a dream to climb Everest since childhood, so when an opportunity to join an expedition leaving in April 2020 arose, he jumped at the chance.

“I have always loved the great outdoors, so much so, I’ve managed to make a career out of it!” Paul said.

“I’ve been climbing mountains for years but Everest has always been my idea of the ultimate challenge.

“It’s not something I have entered into lightly, I know that there is a long road ahead and fully understand the risks and the level of commitment involved, not just for myself, but also from my friends and family who are supporting me.”

To one person in particular, Paul’s efforts to reach Everest have a deeply personal connection. In December 2018, Paul’s close family friend, Catherine Groves lost her battle with cancer, leaving her young family heartbroken.

Catherine’s husband, Colin, is one of Paul’s oldest friends and prior to her passing, Paul had already pledged to use his Everest trip to help raise money for Maggie’s Centre in Newcastle where the Groves family spent a lot of time during Catherine’s treatment. Recent events however have made Paul even more determined to reach the peak in Catherine’s memory.

“Although we knew that her cancer was inoperable, losing Catherine just a few days before Christmas was a shock to us all. She was a wonderful lady who is loved and missed by all who knew her,” Paul said.

“To have Colin’s support with this challenge means the absolute world to me and I just hope that I can do Catherine proud and raise as much money for Maggie’s as possible.”

Maggie’s is a national network of local cancer centres for everyone affected by cancer, including family and friends. Located in the grounds of the Freeman Hospital, the North East centre supports 100 people every day. Visitors can access professional support from nurses, psychologists and a benefits advisor, alongside a weekly programme of support groups and activities to help manage stress like tai chi and mindfulness.

Karen Verrill, centre head of Maggie’s Newcastle says: “We wish Paul every success in his exciting challenge to climb Everest.  Paul is aiming to raise £50,000 for Maggie’s Newcastle in memory of his dear friend Catherine and has set up a JustGiving page. Separately, he is also seeking corporate sponsors to fund his trip to Everest.”

Costing an average of £2,400 per day to run, Maggie’s relies on voluntary donations and fundraisers like Paul to keep its Centres open.

To help him prepare for the expedition, in addition to regular fitness training, Paul is planning to take part in a number of endurance events throughout the course of the year including triathlons, sponsored hikes and also a trial mountain climb.

With similar terrain and comparably snowy weather conditions to those he will find on Everest, in July, Paul plans to climb Mount Nun, a 7,135m peak in the Indian Himalayas to help him fully prepare his body and mind for the expedition to come.

“I have climbed mountains in the Himalayas before, but nothing on the same scale as Everest,” Paul explained.

“Mount Nun is to be my ‘warm‐up’ peak to help me get a better sense of the challenge to come when I fly out to Kathmandu next year. This challenge will certainly be the biggest hurdle on my training journey but first things first, I need to raise the capital to get there!”

To find out how you can get involved with Paul’s Everest challenge, email Paul.Mordue.Everest@gmail.com.

To donate to Maggie’s, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/everestforcatherine.