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Everest mountaineer fulfils pledge made to Sedbergh old boy
A FORMER Sedbergh pupil’s Olympic gold medal was taken to the summit of Everest by a world renowned mountaineer – fulfilling a 90-year pledge.
Dr Arthur Wakefield, who studied at Sedbergh School in the 1890s, was part of an expedition aiming to be the first team to reach the peak of Mount Everest in 1922.
Although unsuccessful, the 21 men were awarded Olympic medals for mountaineering at the 1924 Winter Olympics in Chamonix.
Deputy leader of the group Edward Strutt promised one day the medals would make it to the top of the world's highest mountain, a feat which Kenton Cool achieved in May.
Kenton visted Sedbergh School to regale pupils about his adventures and also met Dr Wakefield’s great grandson Charlie Hilton, who is in lower sixth form.
He carried with him Dr Wakefield’s medal which is owned by his grandson Charles Wakefield.
“This was my tenth summit of Everest. It doesn’t get any easier each time,” said Kenton, 38, from Gloucestershire. “Mentally, you have a better understanding of what it takes but physically, it is no less demanding and, as a whole, no less dangerous.
“This time, I had the added motivation of taking Arthur Wakefield’s medal to the summit.
“I really want to thank Sedbergh School for allowing us to come and share the story with the pupils because I think it’s so important to make a link with the past, present and future."
Charlie said he had followed Kenton’s expedition on the news and the Internet and was excited to meet him.
The Wakefield family only researched their ancestor's climb a few years ago when the medal was uncovered in some old boxes.
“I was really surprised as I’d never heard much about him when growing up,” said Charlie. “I do lots of walking with the school but not much outside of it. This has made me think about getting into walking more.”
Headmaster Andrew Fleck said: “Sedbergh School followed Kenton Cool’s expedition with great interest because it was the first Olympic medal belonging to an Old Sedberghian to reach the top of Everest.
“The pledge and Kenton’s visit to the school will certainly inspire girls and boys at Sedbergh to consider joining expeditions. Mountaineering and outdoor pursuits are very much a part of Sedbergh life, as is nurturing the qualities of perseverance and endurance, essential for such a testing venture.”