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Amanda's climb is summit special

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:01 12 March 2010

Amanda Richmond

Amanda Richmond

BATTLING electrical storms and giant snow plumes, an Ipswich woman has climbed into the record books after summiting Mount Everest.

Amanda with fellow Stowupland teacher Neil Taylor

SHE had intensively trained for months and spent years preparing by climbing some of the world's most challenging mountains.

And despite battling through electrical storms and snow plumes, 54-year-old Amanda Richmond realised her life-long ambition by reaching the summit of Mount Everest - the highest mountain on Earth.

In doing so, the PE teacher at Stowupland High School became the oldest British female to climb the famous mountain.

Miss Richmond of Fonnereau Road, Ipswich said: “It was an incredible experience

“I watched the sun come up as we climbed and I was lucky enough to be on the summit in clear blue sky and the view was wonderful.

“I just loved the whole experience. It was hard work but the best moment must have been reaching the summit as you are just looking down on the world and it was incredible because it was so clear.”

Miss Richmond, who reached the summit at 5.30am on May 20, was joined on the trip by Neil Taylor, a biology teacher at the same school. Incredibly, he managed to climb more than 8,000 metres despite suffering from pneumonia. Unfortunately he was unable to reach the summit due to his illness.

She said: “Neil had been quite unwell with a chest infection for quite a bit but this turned into pneumonia but he got to the stage where he knew that if he carried on he would not return.

“He was devastated. I felt very sad for him because it is difficult when one person summits and the other does not. It was a huge achievement for him to reach 8,100 metres with pneumonia but he does not see that.”

The pair had decided to take on the world's highest peak six years ago and have previously climbed mountains in China, Kenya, Bolivia and Peru. They also spent time training in the Lake District for the Everest attempt.

And they were eagerly supported by staff and pupils from the school.

Miss Richmond said: “The children were really excited about the whole thing and everybody was following it on the website, they probably knew we had reached the summit before we did. Friends and colleagues and students from the school have been incredibly supportive and that has been a great help.”

Now, following the climb, Miss Richmond is left with nothing but happy memories.

“I just feel really privileged to have been in that situation to stand on top of the world. It is a privilege, not a right, and I am very fortunate.”

The pair have raised more than £5,000 for British Heart Foundation and are still looking to raise money. If you can sponsor them, visit www.justgiving.com and search for Amanda Richmond.

EVEREST FACTFILE:-

- Mount Everest is 29,035ft high (8850m)

- It is part of the Himalaya range located on the border between Sagarmatha Zone, Nepal and Tibet, China.

- It was named after Sir George Everest in 1865, the British surveyor-general of India.

- The most dangerous part of the mountain is the Khumbu Ice Fall which has recorded 19 deaths.

- Avalanches are the highest cause of death and there are about 120 corpses remaining on the mountain.

- The first ascent was carried out by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in May 1953.

- The mountain rises a few millimetres each year due to geological forces.

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