Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Sir Chris Bonington auctions Olympic torch to build school in Nepal

Sir Chris Bonington hopes his Olympic torch could raise enough money to build a school in Nepal.

Chris Bonington photo
Chris Bonington

The mountaineer climbed Snowdon on May 29 as part of the torch relay route and broke down in tears, saying it took him back to his roots climbing the Welsh mountain 61 years ago.

Despite his emotional day, Sir Chris is auctioning the torch to raise money for a cause close to his heart.

Fellow Cumbrian Doug Scott, who he climbed Everest with in 1975, established Community Action Nepal (CAN), in 1994 to aid Nepalese porters who, he says, are vital for successful climbing. Sir Chris is patron of the charity.

“Doug wanted to give something back for all that he's got out of climbing,” said Sir Chris. “And I wanted to put something back into their community too – we ensure that every penny gets to them.

“The CAN charity helps open and run schools and hospitals where they are really needed.

“They're now building porter safety shelters because the porters are quite lightly clad and over the years many have died in doing what they do – these shelters are so important.”

Sir Chris and Mr Scott are hopeful of a figure between £8,000 and £12,000, but as Sir Chris said it could get as high as £20,000, which would fund a porter’s lodge and “go a long way towards building a school as well.”

“That would be a real tangible benefit for the people who really need it,” he said. “I've had some wonderful times in Nepal and the Himalayas and have made some very special deep, deep friendships.”

The auction runs until Wednesday and the torch will be on display at the Royal Geographical Society during the First on Kangchenjunga event when the name of the successful bidder will be announced. Bids can be madeby visiting theCommunity Action Nepal website at www.canepal.org.uk


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