Former Buckingham schoolmates take on mountain challenge in support of friend's daughter

Group of friends will be climbing Mount Snowdon four times in 24 hours

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 10:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 10:58 am

Six former Buckingham School students will be attempting to climb Mount Snowdon, in Wales, four times in 24 hours, to raise money for charity.

Army Major Elliot Hirons, actor Alex Shenton, technical manager Luke Graham, salesman Lewis Higgs, window cleaner Will Hayton and project manager Mike Whitbread, all aged 32, are set to take on blustery conditions during the endurance challenge in November, and their accumulative climbs will be the same height of K2 and Mount Everest combined.

The friends, who all grew up in Buckingham and were in the same year at The Buckingham School, decided to take on the challenge when a friend and former schoolmate, James Sly, announced that his second daughter had been diagnosed with a rare neurogenetic disorder known as Angelman Syndrome (AS). People who suffer with AS commonly have balance issues, seizures and struggle to walk.

From left: Mike Whitbread, Luke Graham, Alex Shenton, Elliot Hirons and Will Hayton

Mike, who lives in Brackley, said: “When we heard that Matilda had been diagnosed with this condition, we knew as a group that we needed to do something to help one of our oldest friends.

"We have seen that Matilda has been responding well to therapy and any money we can raise will help others that suffer with AS to receive similar treatment.”

Next month's fundraising challenge was originally planned for April this year, before lockdown restrictions forced the group to reschedule.

Mike said: "We are attempting to climb the mountain four times in 24 hours. We start at 5am on November 5 and intend to be finished by 5am the next day.

James Sly's daughter Matilda, who has Angelman syndrome

"We are taking it on as two teams of three people and the plan is to ascend and descend in five and a half hours, allowing for a 30-minute break before repeating another three times.

"We also have a support crew double-act in the shape of my dad and Elliot’s dad - Ian Whitbread and Brian Hirons."

The friends have already raised over £4,000 via their JustGiving page.

People can also donate by searching 'Climbing Mountains for Matilda' on Instagram.