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A Brightwell villager will be among a group of 25 people climbing to the base camp of Everest, the world’s highest mountain, in spring 2012.

Robert Briggs (58), who has lived in The Street since 2001, will be part of an expedition which is aiming to raise £500,000 for the St. James’s Place Foundation ( st-james-place/our- responsibilities/st-james- place-foundation.aspx), which funds hospices and projects for children with special needs. The foundation is associated with the Berkshire wealth management company for which he works.

The team will fly to Kathmandu in Nepal in April to trek over 120 miles of gruelling terrain to Everest base camp at a height of 18,500 feet. The team leader Roger Owen, a senior management consultant with St. James’s Place and Kenton Cool, one of Britain’s leading mountain climbers, will then go on to complete the ascent of the mountain.

Robert is pictured at the summit of Kilimanjaro (19,240 feet), which he climbed in 2009 with a group of Brightwell families. He is a keen runner and cyclist and has represented Great Britain at the World Duathlon and Triathlon Championships as an age-group competitor. “Everest has always held a particular fascination for me,” he said. “My interest was further stimulated after watching a series of TV programmes last year and reading John Krakaeur’s book Into Thin Air.”

The expedition team are spending a number of training and familiarisation sessions in the Alps and the Lake District before flying to Nepal in the spring. All 25 underwent a rigorous interview and selection process to ensure they would have a good chance of reaching Base Camp and returning safely. This ultimate challenge – chosen to mark the 20th anniversary of St James's Place – will provide support for Children of the Himalayas, a charity which has been responsible for building 14 Malnutrition Centres throughout Nepal. Malnourished children are returned to health through good nutrition, and their parents take valuable knowledge and advice back to their home villages.

Each member of the team – which will follow the route to Base Camp taken by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing in 1953 – is responsible for funding their own trip. They have been charged with raising personal sponsorship for charity of £12,500. To sponsor Robert, and to find out more, visit

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