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Monday, December 28, 2009

Mountaineer Tony reaches his peak - and then some

A PONTELAND man's fundraising drive for his mountain climb has already gone much higher than the original lofty target.
Experienced mountaineer Tony Hodson aimed to collect £6,962 for the Help for Heroes charity as that figure is the height in metres of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina.

But the management consultant is delighted with the response, which is currently more than £8,800, to sponsor his attempt to reach the peak of the tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas next month.

And he has received plenty of support from local groups, including Ponteland Lions Club, Ponteland Methodist Church and Ponteland Boys and Girls Brigade.

A recent fair at the church to sell his wife's jams, cakes and buns, hold raffles and provide games such as guess the name of a teddy bear, was also productive as it raised £138.65.

"I have been genuinely blown away by people's enthusiasm, support and generosity and reaching the target so quickly, then significantly passing it, is beyond my wildest expectations," said Mr Hodson.

"The response from the Ponteland community has been a very pleasant and welcome surprise and there was a healthy number of people at the church when we held the fair which benefited us.

"It was also great to hear that a Sixth Form student at King Edward VI School in Morpeth called Braden Davy, who is very passionate about Help for Heroes, decided to hold a school quiz which raised £50."

The Darras Hall resident is pleased with how his training is going for the climb.

He sets off for Argentina on January 8 and hopes to reach the mountain summit on either January 23, 24 or 25, depending on weather conditions.

"There's still a bit of fundraising to go and it would be nice to reach £10,000 plus the Gift Aid contributions," he added.

"But now the bulk of it is out of the way I'm really looking forward to the climb itself and I'm currently getting things ready, which includes making sure my equipment meets the airline's requirements and having all the injections I need."

For more details about Mr Hodson's climb and to donate, visit

A travel blog has also been set-up to provide updates of the trip.

It can be found at