King’s Ely pupils and staff raise £11,000 “climbing” Mount Everest

James Foster, King's Ely rowing coach cycling the distance to Mount Everest

James Foster, King's Ely Graduate Rowing Coach, cycled the equivalent distance to the Mount Everest summit in one go. It took 10 hours and 48 minutes. - Credit: King's Ely

King’s Ely pupils and staff have climbed the height of the Earth’s highest mountain during lockdown - and raised £11,000 for a suicide prevention charity.

The “King’s Ely Mount Everest Challenge” was organised in memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore, to boost morale during lockdown and to raise money for PAPYRUS, a charity which aims to prevent suicide among young people.

Another pupil celebrates climbing the height of Mount Everest

A pupil celebrates climbing the height of Mount Everest, which is the equivalent of climbing 4,000 flights of stairs. - Credit: King's Ely

Pupils in Osmond House and Wilkinson House at King’s Ely came up with the idea to cover the 8,849m distance either as individuals or as part of tutor group teams.

There was a range of approaches to the challenge. Some chose to climb their stairs in stages at home, whereas others opted to complete the distance in non-stop on exercise machines.

Another pupil completes the King's Ely Everest Challenge by climbing stairs at home.

The boys' challenge could either be completed as individuals or together with tutor groups. - Credit: King's Ely

Paul Lott, Housemaster of Osmond, said: “This is a fantastic sum which will support the PAPYRUS Helpline, and also with education about preventing young suicide.


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“Moreover, this represents a monumental achievement of effort, dedication and self-discipline at a time in which so many young people are struggling with their mental health.

“These are qualities that will help those who participated in their lives ahead when they inevitably face their next ‘Everest’, whatever that may be.”

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Year 11 ‘Osman’, Ed Spencer, and King’s Ely Graduate Rowing Coach, James Foster, were among the first to complete the challenge.

Ed Spencer, a King's Ely pupil, completed the school's Mount Everest challenge during lockdown

Ed Spencer, a King's Ely pupil, was among the first to complete the school's Mount Everest challenge during lockdown. - Credit: King's Ely

Ed conquered it in just five days and covered the distance by climbing 2,496 flights of stairs at his home in Burwell.

Mr Foster completed the distance on a static exercise bike – and it took him 10 hours and 48 minutes of non-stop cycling.

In total, 23 individuals reached the summit from Osmond House. Another 22 students took part with their tutor group.

Another King's Ely pupil celebrates after climbing the distance to the Mount Everest summit

Celebrations at the summit. Pupils from Osmond House and Wilkinson House at King's Ely came up with the idea of the Mount Everest challenge. - Credit: King's Ely

Both Osmond House and Wilkinson House together raised the £11,000.

Mr Lott added: “To all those who encouraged, donated, cheered on and motivated the boys on the tough days, when they just felt like giving up – thank you very much.”

King's Ely pupil reaches the summit of the Mount Everest challenge

The King's Ely Mount Everest Challenge has raised £11,000 for PAPYRUS, the suicide prevention charity for young people. - Credit: King's Ely

PAPYRUS is a UK charity which aims to prevent young suicide in under 35s. It was initially set up as the Parents’ Association for the Prevention of Young Suicide.

Its ‘Hopeline’ is a confidential support and advice service for children and young people who experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide can also contact them.

To donate to the “King’s Ely Mount Everest Challenge” visit its JustGiving page.

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