Raising money for charity all started way, way back when I joined the Royal Navy in 1977.
When you went through training there were always a couple of things you got cajoled into doing, a sponsored swim or walk or whatever.
But you do those things without really thinking about why you are doing it.
But what makes the difference is when you actually go and see where your money is going and the people it is going to help.
I remember presenting money we’d raised to children with cancer at a Southampton hospital. It was incredibly moving, but it’s at moments like those that you know why you do it.
That’s what drives you on and seeing people worse off than you is totally inspirational.
At this time of year we all want a warm home, food on the table and presents around the tree, but there are many, many people out there who, for whatever reason, won’t have all that.
Coming from a military background I was first touched by the Help For Heroes charity when I was the captain of HMS Victory.
You see the pictures and stories on the news of what is happening to these men and women and you just want to do something to help.
I’ve just come back from Nepal where I completed a 75-mile trek to the Everest base camp in aid of Help for Heroes.
I got to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro last year for the same charity and I was keen to take on an even more testing challenge this year.
While the height of base camp at 17,500ft is not quite as high as the African mountain, the terrain and much longer time spent at high altitude made for a much more difficult trip.
Two injured servicemen came with us. They have both benefited from extensive treatment at Headley Court in Surrey, the joint service rehabilitation centre, parts of which were funded by Help for Heroes.
Corporal John Le Galloudec was shot in the spine in Iraq and has very little feeling below the knees and Sgt Darren Carew, whose vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and has had major foot reconstruction surgery, were both an inspiration to us.
This trek was hard. The altitude and particularly the illness that struck us all at some point, made life interesting to say the least.
At times you were running on empty, but just to see John and Darren ploughing on, with smiles on their faces, despite their obvious pain, was a humbling and very motivating sight.
Particularly at this time of year, it certainly puts your own difficulties into per-spective.