PAUL Mordue can’t remember how old he was when his ambition to climb Everest began.

But he does know who his greatest influences have been, for he grew up reading about Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Chris Bonnington, Doug Scott, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Alan Hinkes, Kenton Cool and Ueli Steck.

He recently met Doug Scott, one-half of the first team to scale Everest’s South West face, during a Hexham Rotary fund-raising event.

And he will always remember with great poignancy the coffee he had with Steck, at the Kendal Mountain Festival a few years back. The feted Swiss climber later fell more than 3,000ft to his death in the Himalayas.

“He died on my daughter Poppy’s birthday,” said Paul. “It really hit me – I felt quite emotional, even though I’d only met him a couple of times.

“He’d pulled off so many challenges, he had so many big stories to tell. He did Annapurna in just 12 or 13 hours, you know, something that takes the rest of us several days.”

So it is that Paul’s wife, Simone, the mother of his three daughters, has known since they first got together that his overriding ambition is to get to the top of Everest himself.

The Barrasford outdoor education instructor has been to Everest Base Camp before, in 2005, and has a string of other lesser mountains to his name. But at Christmas, the death of a close family friend spurred him into action.

Last month, he announced his intentions to climb Everest in 2020 in aid of the Maggie’s cancer support centre that did so much for Hexham mother-of-two Catherine Groves in her last months.

Paul aims to raise £50,000 for the centre, located in the grounds of Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. “It’s a big amount to raise, but the centre has running costs of £2,400 a day,” he said.

In July, he flies out to India for a three-week training expedition designed to get the dozen or so participants working as a team. After meeting in Delhi, they will take one of those shuttle-hops to Leh in the Himalayas.

The aim, to tackle the 7135m Mount Nun. “The conditions will be similar to those we can expect on Everest,” he said, “so mixed terrain, ice and rock and fixed ropes in place, and temperatures potentially as low as minus 35 degrees.”

The ‘coldest cold’ he’s experienced to date was minus 18 degrees, at Everest Base Camp last time round. That’s as far as his then trek went, so integral to July’s expedition will preparing for what lies above.

Before that, though, Paul has to raise the money to cover his own costs. Entirely separate to the £50K he aims to raise for Maggie’s is the ‘other’ £50K he needs to raise, though corporate sponsorship, to pay for the trip.

The permit alone to climb Mount Everest is £7,000. He smiled: “How often can you say you’ve sent a man up Everest to have your logo on top of the world?’”

Paul can be sponsored, for Maggie’s, on the page and contacted via