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Sir Chris Bonington's Olympic torch to be auctioned for charity
THE torch which Lakeland mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington used to carry the Olympic Flame to the summit of Snowdon is to go under the hammer.
Proceeds from the sale will go to the charity Community Action Nepal, which supports projects in health, education and industry for the country’s mountain people.
Sir Chris carried the torch to the top of Wales' highest mountain on May 29 - the 59th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest by Hillary and Tenzing - as Olympic fever gripped the nation.
He said: “In truth, for this summit attempt, the torch travelled on the train up Snowdon and I carried it up the final bit, but it was a truly marvellous experience and I found the whole thing very emotional – which came upon me as a bit of a surprise.
“I still feel immensely proud to have played a modest part in this year’s tremendous Olympics.”
And he wants the experience to have a positive legacy, by offering the torch to the charity to auction.
It was set up by fellow mountaineer Doug Scott - the first man to climb Everest’s south west face.
Mr Scott explained: “The aim of Community Action Nepal is to help the mountain communities remain sustainable, viable and to help stop the human drift into Kathmandu.
“The reality is that, with just a bit of support, the hill communities can provide a decent way of life, while the supposed attractions of Kathmandu invariably end in exploitation, despair and often tragedy for the hill people.”
Sir Chris, who hopes the auction will raise more than £10,000, added: “Doug and I now go back a very long way and we’ve had some incredible adventures together in the mountains, but I can honestly say that all of this pales into insignificance when compared with what Doug has achieved through Community Action Nepal.
“I really can’t think of a better use for my Olympic torch than to raise funds for this outstanding charity.
“We often hear talk of an ‘Olympic legacy' - this will be a very useful legacy for some of the world’s poorest people”
The torch is being auctioned through open online bids at www.canepal.org.uk
A final amount will be revealed at a mountaineering lecture and fundraising event at the Royal Geographical Society on Wednesday (November 14).