A WEST Ilsley man is preparing to climb the 5,364 metres to the Mount Everest base camp in order to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity.
James Smith, 36, who has already climbed mountains in the UK – including the Three Peaks Challenge – will set out in November as part of a team of 30 other fundraisers to hike to the camp.
Before his epic climb, Mr Smith will also be taking on a number of other fundraising challenges.
In May, together with the support of Newbury-based Chris Fidler Garage Services, he has organised a 6km and 10km walk along the Ridgeway.
And in July he will return to the Ridgeway to take part in the Race to the Stones event – a 100km route from Lewknor, which ends at the 4,500-year-old Avebury stone circle.
Mr Smith, who lives in West Ilsley where he works as a gardener for racehorse trainer Mick Channon, is also planning to take on the off-road Andover Trail Marathon in September and in May will walk across the north of England from coast to coast following Hadrian’s Wall.
“I have a brother in the army and have always thought that the armed services often don’t receive the recognition they deserve and are sometimes even taken for granted,” he said.
“I am pleased to do my bit to help. It is going to be hard work, but I am looking forward to it.
“Although I have climbed in the UK, this will be the first time I have climbed overseas.”
Mr Smith, who is married with a six-year-old son, added: “My gardening work keeps me pretty fit and I have taken part in a couple of marathons before so I know what to expect.
“I am aiming to raise £4,300, which is the figure the Help for Heroes charity has suggested.
“I have to raise £1,900 just to cover my costs to climb to the Everest base camp.”
n For more information on the two Ridgeway walks, visit www.mysticpixel.wixsite.com/ridgewayrun
To donate to Mr Smith’s other efforts, go to www.justgiving.com/James-Smith1111