A local businessman who has set himself the immense challenge of self-funding a trip to climb Mount Everest in memory of his late friend has attracted his first corporate sponsor.

Blyth-based Fusion PR Creative has become the first business to get behind Paul Mordue’s Everest 2020 challenge.

Paul met the team at Fusion PR Creative through some joint promotional activity he did with his own company, Wild About Adventure, and one of Fusion’s primary school clients in 2018.

The firm, which provides strategic PR, marketing and creative design support to clients operating across a range of industry sectors, has become Paul’s first platinum level sponsor and has pledged to help him spread the word about his fundraising endeavours ahead of the expedition next April.

Standing at a towering 29,029ft, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. Located deep in the Himalayas, the expedition will see Paul away from home for two whole months taking on some of the planet’s most extreme terrain and facing temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius.

Paul, who lives in Barrasford near Hexham, has harboured a dream to climb Everest since childhood so when an opportunity to join an expedition arose, he jumped at the chance. His motive to complete the challenge however changed significantly when a close family friend lost her fight against cancer last Christmas.

In addition to crowdfunding the money he needs to actually participate in the expedition, Paul is also looking to raise £50,000 for the Maggie’s Centre at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital where his friend Catherine spent some of her final days with her young family.

“I’m absolutely delighted that Fusion PR Creative has decided to come on board as my first official sponsor,” Paul said.

“The cost of the Everest expedition itself is around £50,000 which is a huge amount of money, however when you break down the costs, there is an awful lot to pay for. The permit alone to climb the mountain can cost up to £7,000!

“Losing Catherine just before Christmas was absolutely devastating. I had already decided that I wanted to use the expedition to help raise money for the Maggie’s Centre, but Catherine’s passing has just made me even more determined.

“I am looking for corporate sponsors and private benefactors to help fund the expedition so that all the money that I raise can go to the charity in Catherine’s memory and not to fund the cost of the expedition. I’m thrilled that Fusion has been able to come on board and would like to express my gratitude for their ongoing support.”

Leanne Tonks, communications manager at Fusion PR Creative, commented: “As a small business, we like to do what we can to give back to causes in the community and to support other local business people. Having met and worked with Paul in the past, after hearing about his plans to climb Everest in his friend’s memory, we were eager to show our support.

“Paul’s determination to reach the summit is truly inspirational and we’re very proud to be sponsoring him with his Everest 2020 challenge. From the entire team at Fusion, we wish Paul the very best of luck with his fundraising and the expedition to come.”