September 18, 2008

Guides Feeling on Top of the World

By Chris Court

A group of Girl Guides held a top-of-the-world coffee morning near Mount Everest to help raise cash for a cancer charity.

The group of 13 are claiming they staged the world's highest coffee morning - at an altitude of 18,500ft - to boost Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Guides - all from the organisation's South West region - brewed up yesterday when they reached the summit of Kala Pattar, near Everest base camp.

The team - aged between 18 and 30 - prepared for the adventure endurance training sessions on Dartmoor in Devon.

And they spent more than two weeks at high altitude in the Himalayas before reaching their top coffee spot.

They were sponsored by supermarket Somerfield, which helped fund the challenge, and which is also supporting Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning in its 880 stores.

One of the Himalayas group, Laura Maddock, 20, a Brownie Guider from Paignton, Devon, said: "The Sherpa people we have spoken to fully understand why we are here and have an amazing positive attitude to life. In turn, we have learned a lot about sustainable living from the locals as we progressed into remoter areas."

She added: "Cancer is a global issue and we are so lucky in the UK to have a caring infrastructure through organisations such as Macmillan."

Girlguiding South West England's chief commissioner Gill Slocombe said: "As a girl-led organisation, Girlguiding UK's members in the South West chose to support Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning because it offers an amazing opportunity to combine an extreme challenge with a very worthwhile cause. We are very pleased to be helping Macmillan reach even more people affected by cancer."

Somerfield spokesman Pete Williams, added: "We are very proud to be supporting Girlguiding UK with their World's Highest Coffee Morning.

"Not only is this an incredible challenge but it will also help to raise awareness and vital funds for Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning supporting people living with cancer."

While the team was in Nepal, Girlguiding units throughout the South West held their own 'extreme' Everest themed coffee mornings to coincide with the world record attempt.

There was abseiling at Cheddar Gorge, skiing in Plymouth, a 400- strong coffee morning in the New Forest and an event for five to seven-year-old Rainbow section guiders at Beale Park in Berkshire.

It was hoped the Girlguiding Himalayan event would help raise public awareness for the Macmillan coffee morning event on September 26. Two million people in the UK are currently living with cancer, and one in three will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime.

Money raised last year helped Macmillan be a source of practical, medical, emotional and financial support to people affected by cancer across the UK.

This year is the 18th birthday of Macmillan Cancer Support's World's Biggest Coffee Morning, which is now one of the largest fundraising events in the UK.

The September event alone is expected to raise more than pounds8 million.

(c) 2008 Western Morning News, The Plymouth (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.