Volunteers reach dizzy heights to help our heroes

MADE IT Cdr John Scivier (centre) at Mount Everest Base Camp with, left, Cpl John Le Galloudec and, right, Sgt Darren Carew
MADE IT Cdr John Scivier (centre) at Mount Everest Base Camp with, left, Cpl John Le Galloudec and, right, Sgt Darren Carew
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A NAVAL officer has reached dizzy heights to raise funds for military heroes.

Lieutenant Commander John Scivier teamed up with 26 other volunteers and braved bitter conditions to complete the 75-mile trek to Mount Everest Base Camp in 13 days in aid of Help for Heroes.

Among the group were two injured servicemen, Cpl John Le Galloudec and Sgt Darren Carew. John was shot in the spine in Iraq and has very little feeling below his knees, and Darren has had major foot reconstruction surgery following a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan.

Both men have been treated at a rehabilitation centre which has received funding from Help for Heroes.

Lt Cdr Scivier said: ‘It was a real eclectic bunch of people who were joined by a unique, strong desire to want to get out and do something to help.

‘This particular trek was a hard slog. To see John and Darren carrying on with smiles on their faces, despite obvious pain was a humbling and very motivating sight. They were an inspiration.’

The team were forced to endure below-freezing night-time temperatures, with only a single stove and Arctic sleeping bags to keep them warm.

And the whole team suffered from altitude-related sickness during the trek and were forced to stay an extra night to recover.

‘At about 60,000ft I had terrible altitude headaches and sickness,’ said Lt Cdr Scivier. ‘The illness was a low point that struck us all, that was the time I thought I might not make the trek. But there are people in the military without limbs, that have been so close to death or died. It really does put your own difficulties into perspective.’

Lt Cdr Scivier is the former commanding officer of HMS Victory and no stranger to fundraising. Last year he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and – including the £5,200 he raised by completing the Everest trek – has brought in more than £200,000 for charity.

He added: ‘I am happy with what I have raised, it is the military connection I have, and the desire to want to help which made me do it. Whatever role you play, we are all military and I wanted to help. To get to base camp, to see the wonderful scenery and to stand over halfway up the highest mountain in the world was an experience I will never forget.’