'What an amazing journey': Soham vet climbs Mera Peak in Nepal to raise money for Arthur Rank Hospice in memory of her friend
"It is all about pushing yourself beyond what is possible."
“It is all about pushing yourself beyond what is possible.”
Those were the words of adventurous vet Heather Bentley who challenged herself to climb Mera Peak in Nepal for charity.
The 59-year-old who works at the Aquarius Veterinary Centre in Soham, decided to take on the mountain – which is 21,000 feet above sea level – to raise money for the Arthur Rank Hospice.
It comes as her close friend from Soham, Tim Wallis, 72, passed away at the centre in Cambridge following an illness earlier this year.
So far, Heather, from Great Barton in Suffolk, has raised more than £1,200 for the hospice.
She said: “The staff there were wonderful and Tim was cared for so well and was very happy to spend his final days with dignity.
“I have done several charity challenges before so I knew that this was something I wanted to do to raise money for the hospice.”
Heather, who set off on her mission as part of a team of 12 on November, had to turn back before reaching the glacier and just two members successfully summitted.
She returned to the UK exhausted but exhilarated just over two weeks later.
“We began with miserable conditions,” she said.
“We started trekking, gradually climbing higher and higher to acclimatise to the altitude.
“It was always going to be a huge mental and physical challenge as we battled against the cold and lack of oxygen at high altitude.
“The higher we got it became more clear and the mist started to go away and then we were left with the most amazing view.
“The toughest bit is how you take it on mentally. It comes down to whether or not you believe you can do it. The ultimate challenge is in your mind.”
But taking on Mera Peak is not the first climb for Heather, who over the past decade has trekked to the top of Kilimanjaro, two other mountains in Nepal and Cotopaxi in Ecuador.
She added: “Only 10 years ago I decided I wanted to do something like this in aid of charity to climb Kilimanjaro for a diabetes charity as my daughter has that.
“It was meant to be a once in a lifetime experience but then I decided I wanted to do it again and again.”
Heather is still taking donations for the Arthur Rank Hospice at her Just Giving page at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Heather-Bentley4