THE founder of a Hyde-based charity who has recovered from cancer, Covid-19 and a heart attack, has completed a virtual climb of Everest - helping to raise more than £30,000.

John Hunt, aged 80, completed the challenge on his climbing machine in aid of the Lotus Flower Trust - a charity supporting the poorest communities in India. Supporting the fundraising efforts more than 500 boys from Winchester College also ran a collective total of 4,400 km in and around the school grounds.

Using his climbing machine, John climbed the height of Everest – 29,028ft, but actually completed 30,000ft. He started the virtual journey on August 21, which he completed on Friday, which marked exactly 100 years to the day since the 1921 team reached the North Col, the anniversary of what was then the highest anyone had ever climbed.

Speaking about the challenge he said: “It is very useful that I am very disciplined when I say I’m going to do something I do it.”

John allocated time four days a week for his challenge over five weeks and says he “never missed a day” but by the end admits: “My legs were saying what are you doing?”.

He says he is “happy” to have completed his challenge but says it was a “cheat really” compared to doing a real mountain climb.

In 2019, John had prostate cancer and then last year had Covid, which was followed four weeks later by a heart attack.

John says it is “wonderful” to have raised the amount of money.

A target of £100,000 had been set to fund three major projects to help ease poverty, climate change and support education in India.

So far £30,341 has been raised. The money will be used to fund one of the charity’s projects.

These include building a farm at Basgo Nunnery in Ladakh to help the nuns and destitute girls who reside there to become self-sufficient; creating artificial glaciers to restore water to four remote Himalayan villages; and building a new school for 1,000 poor children studying in unsafe conditions near Moradabad.

“I do this for other people and there is nothing more rewarding,” said John, who is now planning his next challenge.“We are immensely grateful to all the people who have helped us.”

John set up the Lotus Flower Trust in 2008 to raise funds to build schools, homes and skills centres for children, women and people with special needs in remote areas of India

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