News Editor: Why we’re doing Everest trek, and why it’s so important

PUBLISHED: 15:03 30 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:03 30 October 2013

News editor Dave Burke

News editor Dave Burke

Archant

This weekend a team will set off for Everest Base Camp in aid of a Welwyn Garden City-based hospice.

The 18-strong group, put together by Isabel Hospice, will be trekking for 12 days to reach the Nepalese landmark, reaching an altitude of more than 5,500metres.

Here Welwyn Hatfield Times news editor Dave Burke, who will be part of the expedition, reflects on the challenge ahead, and why it is so important.

So, after nine months of training, the departure day is nearly upon us.

We’ve all been slogging away to get our fitness levels up to scratch, and none of us have been left in any doubt that this will be an exhausting challenge.

I’m sure my friends, colleagues and family are sick to the back teeth of me moaning about the various aches and pains I’ve suffered after hours in the gym.

No doubt that’s the same for all the Team Base Camp members, but we all hope it will be worthwhile.

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with the hospice’s corporate relationship manager, Emma Lippiatt, who told me the team has so far raised more than £50,000.

"Since I signed up, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve mentioned the challenge and been told about the work the hospice has done for a loved one.
And the generosity people have shown is testament to the high regard it is held in."

Dave Burke

It’s been an incredible fundraising effort, and I’m extremely proud to be part of it – although I can only claim credit for a tiny fraction of the money raised so far.

It would be fantastic to see that figure creep up still further.

Emma’s put in a huge amount of work to put the expedition together, and was one of the first people to sign up herself.

So what has inspired a group of (I presume) rational, sensible grown-ups to agree to march over the peaks and troughs of the Himalayas, in soaring temperatures and extreme cold (I’m told in the last couple of weeks it’s dropped to -17C at night)?

It has been extremely moving to find out.

Teammate Sue Allison is taking part in memory of her mother, who was cared for at the WGC hospice before she died in August 2011.

Likewise Phil Massetti has spoken about the care his friend, work colleague and former brother-in-law Barry James received at the hospice before he died a couple of years ago at the age of 51. The stories go on.

Since I signed up, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve mentioned the challenge and been told about the work the hospice has done for a loved one.

And the generosity people have shown is testament to the high regard it is held in.

As a newcomer to this area nearly a year ago, when I started at the Welwyn Hatfield Times, one of my first visits was to the in-patient unit.

I was stunned to learn it costs £4.2million to keep the hospice running, of which £2.7million needs to be raised through donations and fundraising.

£2.7million!

Earlier this year I set about finding out more about the charity, speaking to a family who used the hospice’s bereavement service, a volunteer who gave up her time to help patients, the charity’s chief executive, and a patient who died soon after giving an incredibly moving interview.

All painted a powerful picture of a service desperately needed in Welwyn Hatfield and East Herts, and one very much in need of support.

There are plenty of people we’d like to thank for their support – PW Gates, Julia Clark Fitness, Zephyr Flags, Tesco, Feeling Upbeat – whose help has been incredibly valuable.

If you do wish to sponsor me, all your support is very gratefully received, both by myself and the hospice.

You can do so by going to www.justgiving.com/Dave-Burke1 or text WHTD81 and the amount you want to sponsor to 70070.

Alternatively, you can sponsor the team by going to www.justgiving.com/teamisabelbasecamp

To find out more, go to www.teambasecamp.co.uk/isabel-hospice


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