Phil faces his toughest task

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FATHER-of-four Phil Purdy enjoys nothing more than testing his climbing ability but this month he faces his toughest challenge so far when he heads for the top of the world.

On March 24, 51-year-old Phil will leave his home and family in Lightcliffe for the Himalayas where he will start his ascent of Everest.

Phil is climbing to raise money for Cancer Research UK with his good friend Jeff Crooke, a company director of Norwich. The two men, who both share a love of adventure, are hoping to raise £150,000 for Cancer Research UK. Already £60,000 has been donated.

In 2009, after 18 months of planning and training, Phil and Jeff climbed Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world at 8,201 metres and just 20km away from Everest, raising £100,000 to support work at the Leeds Cancer Research Centre.

Phil, who works for Yorkshire Water in Leeds, is a keen fell walker and runner, having completed several marathons. He lost his father to lung cancer in 2002.

He said: “It’s long been our ambition to climb Everest and it’s Cancer Research UK’s ambition to beat cancer.

“Both challenges take a good deal of stamina, team work and the support of many. We hope our Everest challenge will support some amazing research that will make a real difference.”

To conquer Everest the two men will follow Hillary and Tenzing’s route via the South Col. It will take them around 72 days to reach the summit at 8,850m and they will have to overcome treacherous conditions and the debilitating effects of the lack of oxygen. Their training climbs include Mont Blanc in the Alps and Chopicalqui in Andes. To support Phil and Jeff’s fundraising climb visit www.everestchallange2012.co.uk