16 December, 2005
Asda baker Brian Highfield is raising thousands of pounds for charity with a trip up Mount Everest, as he tells Anne Bruce
Asda baker Brian Highfield has been working 12-hour days at the supermarket’s recently launched Brech Road store in Liverpool. The store only opened on November 16 and it is all hands on deck as staff make sure everything is just right for customers. But after his 6am start, and a busy day baking, Brian does not go home and put his feet up. Instead, he heads to the gym for a three-hour cardiovascular workout.
It is a relentless regime and on top of that Brian reveals he has not taken a single day’s holiday this year. It sounds like madness, but Brian is not crazy.Charity climbHe is in training to climb the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest, to raise money for Scope, the cerebral palsy charity. He has been saving up his holiday allowance for the adventure.The 47-year-old will fly to India and then on to Kathmandu on February 19 as part of a team of 40 people Scope is sending out. The intrepid baker will make the 21-day trek up Everest carrying only a small rucksack with a first aid kit and other essentials. The rest of his provisions will be conveyed by yak train.The bulk of Everest is in China and the Chinese government is “fussy” about letting Westerners go all the way up to the 29,000ft peak, he reports. But he will be allowed up to a dizzying 24,000ft.Brian is disappointed that he will miss the “death zone”, the part above 26,000 ft.No retiring type Conquering Everest will be the pinnacle of Brain’s career as a climber. ‘Retirement age’ for mountaineers is around 50, although he is still hoping to get up Kilimanjaro. After that he plans to restrict his extra-curricular activities to jungle safaris.Brian has already climbed the UK’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis, which is over 4,000ft and he has been up Mount Blanc in France. On both occasions he raised money for a cystic fibrosis charity.He was inspired to support the work of Scope while working in the bakery at Asda’s Walton store, before he was posted to the new Brech Road store. He was moved by the “little lad” of Asda’s Walton store manager, who suffers from cerebral palsy. Brain says: “I feel it’s easy for able-bodied people to do anything we want to do. We should do more for disabled people.”So far Brian has raised £2,700 but hopes to increase that to well over £3,500, with continued support from Asda colleagues. That’s why Brian will wear clothing displaying the Asda logo on the mountain. He is open to offers from other companies wishing to sponsor him!- To contact Brian call 0151 264 6100.