Lifelong friends in their seventies head for Everest

TWO lifelong friends in their seventies leave for one of the biggest challenges they have ever faced next week – a trek to Everest Base Camp.

Ray Elliott, 70, and friend Gordon Papworth, 73, hatched the idea after, by Ray’s own admission, “probably too much wine”.

The pair, who both live in Hitchin, were discussing bucket lists while in Cambridge, when Gordon suggested the pair do the trek.

“I said, ‘yep, we’ll do that’, and that was that,” Ray told the Comet.

“Neither of us are prepared to chicken out. We’re both capable, we are as young as we feel.

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“We still feel great, we’re still healthy, we’re fit enough. The only problem we might face is high altitude sickness.”

Although Ray has not done anything like this before, Gordon has some past experience of mountain walking.

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The two have been in serious training, trekking up Snowdon, and going to the gym three times a week. They have also been heading out on 15-mile walks around North Herts.

So far, Ray and Gordon have raised �800 sponsorship between them, but believe they will raise more than �1,000 for Letchworth GC based Garden House Hospice.

“We are raising money for a charity where there are younger people than us affected by illness. We want to use the opportunity we’ve got to raise money to help them,” added Ray.

“Everyone says to me, ‘you’re bloody mad’, but also ‘good luck and terrific’. We’re both 70, but we’ve still got challenges we want to achieve.”

Ray and Gordon leave for their expedition next Thursday.

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