TWO Salisbury residents helped take rugby to new heights after completing a “phenomenal” record-breaking charity match on Mount Everest.

John Curtis and Vivian Worrall, from Tisbury, both took part in the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge, which staged the highest-altitude game of full contact and mixed-touch rugby in history, at 6,500 metres.

Vivian, who played in the touch-rugby match, said it was “really exciting, and really amazing, but really tough.”

The match was played on the East Rongbuk Glacier, near Everest Advanced Base Camp, and the result was a 5-5 draw.

Vivian and John love trekking, and both love the Himalayas, and combined this with John’s love of rugby.

Vivian added: “Just to have been there was amazing. It is such a special place to be.”

The game also included former international rugby players Lee Mears, Shane Williams, Ollie Phillips and Tamara Taylor.

Battling altitude sickness, the symptoms of which include severe headaches, lack of sleep and loss of appetite, the group spent two weeks acclimatising, slowly advancing up the mountain. After successfully playing the highest ever game of touch rugby at Everest Base Camp (5,119m), the challengers then progressed to the East Rongbuk Glacier, at 6,331m, setting up a full-sized rugby pitch, including flags and make-shift posts, in accordance with Guinness World Record specifications.

Facing severe shortage of breath, with oxygen levels estimated at around 40 per cent at Advanced Base Camp, the group then battled hard in a fiercely contested game of full contact Rugby Sevens. Under the watchful eye of Tamara Taylor, who assumed the role of referee, Team Phillips took on Team Williams.

Team captain, Shane Williams said: “In arguably the world’s most spectacular setting for a rugby match but also the most inhospitable conditions, the game was incredibly tough.

“If you ran during the match it took 10 minutes to recover.

“That said, everyone put in 100 per cent and there was some great rugby played. I can’t praise the team enough.”

The general public can get behind the challenge by visiting and through the use of #everestrugby on social media.

Wooden Spoon hopes to motivate people to conquer their own Everest through this campaign, by climbing their own Everest to fundraise for children and young people with a disability or facing disadvantage.”

Sarah Webb, CEO of Wooden Spoon, said: “We have been blown away by the challengers’ dedication, grit and pure determination.

“The challenge has been extremely tough, brutal at times, but the team have pulled together and broken two World Records in the most extreme of conditions, as well as raising over £250,000 for children with disabilities and facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland.”

John’s donation page has raised more than £17,000 so far, and is still open for further donations: