CARING Phil Carpenter is climbing part of Mount Everest in a bid to keep the memory of his best friend alive.
Phil, 31, was left devastated when he heard the news that David Shipp, who he grew up with, took his own life in March last year.
As previously reported in The News, Phil, David, 27, of Essex Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, raised more than £8,000 to pay for his funeral, with the help of friends and donations.
Now Phil has taken a flag bearing David’s picture with him to the world’s highest mountain in the hope help people will continue to remember him.
Phil, who lives in Powerscourt Road, Copnor, left the UK for the Himalayas on Sunday.
As part of the 19-day challenge he is climbing to South Base Camp in Nepal, which has an altitude of 17,600ft (5,364m).
When he arrives, he will have pictures taken with the flag, which was made by David’s uncle Rod Tribble, before bringing it back home with him.
The flag includes Pompey’s crest because David was a life-long fan of the club and used to go to every home game.
Phil, a corporal for the British Army and a member of Third Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, based in Hilsea, said: ‘The thought of David will spur me on. His passing hit me hard.
‘I was away working and it was when I came back that I found out he had died. It was just devastating.
‘I want to keep his memory alive for as long as possible.
‘He was a close friend and someone I grew up with. We both went to Priory School, in Southsea together.
‘When I asked David’s family to make a flag for me to take to Mount Everest with me I never expected it to be so big.’
Phil is taking on the trek with three other members of the Portsmouth battalion and 11 others from the regiment.
He is also raising money for Papyrus, a UK charity which helps to prevent suicide in young people. Phil added: ‘I haven’t set myself a target of how much I want to raise.
‘This challenge is more about raising awareness of the hard work it does.’
Members of army regiment take on Mount Everest for suicide charity
by MILES O’LEARY