TWO adventurous best-friends decided to cross one off the bucket list by climbing to the base camp of Everest to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention.

Joe Thackray and Ashley Terron raised an incredible total of £16,525 for Warrington-based charity Papyrus, a heart-led choice for Joe, who’s girlfriend Kitty Meyer sadly lost her brother to suicide back in 2014.

While Ashley who has worked in construction for over a decade wanted to also raise money and highlight the worrying trend in percentage of construction workers committing suicide, with an average of two people a day who work in the industry, taking their lives.

Joe, 31, from Appleton, initially made the decision to do the trek with it being a life-long goal he had always wanted to achieve.

And Ashley – after much convincing – agreed to join him on the journey, which began on Thursday, September 29 when they caught a flight from Manchester to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.Runcorn and Widnes World: The trip was self-funded and was a total of nine days trekking through the Himalayas.The trip was self-funded and was a total of nine days trekking through the Himalayas. (Image: Newsquest)

The pair then flew from Kathmandu to the Himalayan settlement of Lukla, described by Forbes in 2019 as the ‘worlds most dangerous airport’ with its runway situated on the edge of the mountain.

Joe and Ashley, who have been pals for more than 15 years, then started a gruelling nine-day trek up to Everest base camp and back down accompanied by professional guides and battling altitude sickness, lack of sleep and grumbling stomachs.

Each day they would finish trekking and stop over at a ‘tea house’ where they would have food and a sherper would deliver their extra bags with all their essentials for the night.

The trip was self-funded, and the pair booked the planned trek through ‘Pro Trek Adventure’.

Joe said: “It was the best thing I have ever done, but at the same time it was so awful, it was cold, the altitude was awful, and the food was bad.”

He explained how there was an option once they reached base camp to climb further up to see a great view of Everest, with Joe being the only one to agree to go.

“When I got to the top, I have never felt anything like it in my life. The altitude was playing tricks on my mind. Every ten steps felt like you were sprinting 100.”

Joe added how the weather took a bad turn during their trip back down the mountain and so the pair decided to take a helicopter ride on their last day of trekking from Lukla to Kathmandu to ensure they were able to catch their following flight home.

And disaster struck for Ashley, from Daresbury, on the final day of the trek.

“On the last day of walking on the way back down – it was raining hard – there was a pool of water in my pocket and my phone was in there and it broke because of the water so I ended up losing every picture I had taken from the trip,” he said.

But despite the bumps along the road, the thirty-year-old described the trip as a ‘once in a lifetime experience’.

“Initially it was a complete culture shock when we arrived at Kathmandu, it is so overpopulated, so it was a breath of fresh air when we made it to the Himalayas.

“You feel minute when you are stood their surrounded by the mountains and to see Everest in the flesh was amazing.”Runcorn and Widnes World: The pair raised a grand total of £16, 525 for the suicide awareness charity Papyrus.The pair raised a grand total of £16, 525 for the suicide awareness charity Papyrus. (Image: Joe Thackray)

The friends agreed that the trip was surprisingly accessible to all physical abilities, but it was more of a ‘mental battle’ throughout the trek.

Ashley explained how the altitude ‘wiped him out’ and was one of his biggest hurdles along with missing his ‘home comforts’.

Joe and Ashley have both never done any fundraising before but within two weeks of opening the funding page had managed to raise more than £5000 – heavily thanks to donations from workers at Ashley;s previous employers, Urban Splash.

Ashley originally trained as a brick layer and was crowned the world’s best brick layer 10 years ago.

He said: “I have worked in construction for a while now and I have managed to make a lot of connections within the industry, suicide is a major thing within the industry, so I put out a message about us raising money for the cause and received a lot of donations from people in construction.”

The Just Giving page is still open for donations so to donate follow the link and Widnes World: Joe climbed the extra distance from base camp to see the fantastic view of Everest.Joe climbed the extra distance from base camp to see the fantastic view of Everest. (Image: Joe Thackray)