Michael Palin: 'most useful cup of tea'

Michael Palin: 'most useful cup of tea'

The deadline is fast approaching if you want to have tea with one of Britain’s best loved television explorers.

Outdoor fans have until Sunday evening to bid for a cuppa with former Monty Python comedian Michael Palin, to help victims of the Nepal earthquakes.

Also on offer are two pieces of the world’s mountain, brought from the summit by the climber who has summited Everest more than any other Briton.

The two lots are among a plethora of outdoor-oriented goodies in the eBay auction organised by the British Mountaineering Council and the Alpine Club in a bid to raise at least £8,848 – matching the metric height of Everest – to help residents of the Himalayan country hit by devastating quakes earlier this year.

Record-breaking Everest mountaineer Kenton Cool with BMC president Rehan Siddiqui

Record-breaking Everest mountaineer Kenton Cool with BMC president Rehan Siddiqui

Two rocks carried down the mountain by Kenton Cool are currently set to fetch more than £500 and someone has also bid a similar amount for that entertaining drink with renowned globetrotter and raconteur Palin.

The broadcast personality said: “Having travelled in Nepal and been enchanted by the country and its people, I want to do my bit to help repay them for all their hospitality.

“This could be among the most useful cups of tea I’ve ever had.”

There are only two days left to bid on items in the first batch of the auction until they are going, going, gone on the evening of Sunday 5 July.

A BMC spokesperson said: “Feel ‘on top of the world’ by bidding for Mount Everest summit rock – a specimen from the highest exposed outcrop in the world at approximately 8,840m – collected for scientific purposes by British mountain guide Kenton Cool on his record-breaking seventh ascent of the mountain with Sherpa Dorje Gelygen in 2009.”

All 78 auction lots are now live in the BMC4Nepal online charity auction and range from a Lakeland fell walk with mountaineers Sir Chris Bonington and Doug Scott to books, artwork and memorabilia including a signed photo of Ab Fab star and Gurkha campaigner Joanna Lumley and a rare collection of butterflies collected on the successful 1953 Everest expedition.

BMC patrons and former Alpine Club presidents, Sir Chris Bonington and Doug Scott joined climber Leo Houlding and BMC president Rehan Siddiqui to record a BMC4Nepal video message to encourage everyone to get behind the auction.

They said: “We’re all mountaineers helping the mountain people of Nepal.

“It’s an online auction so we don’t have a hammer, but we do have an ice axe. So please dig deep and bid high. Make mountaineering history and help us, help the people of Nepal.”

Kenton Cool will also be taking one lucky winning bidder for a walk or climb and dinner in the British mountains. You can bid for a climbing session with top climbers Shauna Coxsey, Hazel Findlay, and Steve McClure or former Alpine Club president Mick Fowler.

People can also walk the fells with Sir Chris Bonington

People can also walk the fells with Sir Chris Bonington

A second batch of 39 lots has only just gone live and is open to bidding until the hammer goes down on the evening of Sunday 12 July. The aim is to reach an amount, £29,029, equivalent to the height of Everest in feet by the second deadline.

Unique pieces of mountaineering history are also on offer, including equipment such as Stephen Venables’s crampons and Pete Boardman’s boots worn on Everest expeditions as well some of the very latest kit from top outdoor brands and unique artwork.

The Alpine Club, whose members have shaped climbing in Nepal since it was first opened to westerners 66 years ago, is supporting the venture and its members have donated some valuable items of remarkable significance. These include: 1953 Everest expedition team member Mike Westmacott’s collection of moths and butterflies collected during the 1953 Everest expedition; an Everest 1953 silver engraved cigarette box and Himalayan paintings by James Hart-Dyke and Julian Cooper.

Proceeds from the auction will go to Community Action Nepal, providing long-term support to the mountain people of Nepal. CAN is a UK-based charity whose aim is to help the mountain people of Nepal through operating medical posts, schools and mountain porter rescue shelters.

The charity was founded by Doug Scott, who in 1975 made the first British ascent of Everest. Many of the mountain communities in which CAN’s 40-plus projects are based have been devastated or displaced by the earthquake.

Proceeds from selected items, including top of the range gear from Sherpa Adventure Gear, will go to help the Paldorje Sherpa Education Fund to provide immediate relief on the ground to benefit the children of Sherpa families in remote villages.

The auction is the brainchild of new BMC president Rehan Siddiqui who said: “Support for the Nepalese people is particularly strong amongst the mountaineering, climbing, trekking and other outdoor activities community, who have long held a deep regard for this region and its wonderful inhabitants.

“It’s now two months since the catastrophe in Nepal shocked and saddened the world, and the immediate attention of media has moved away from the earthquake in Nepal.

“It is important that we refocus the media’s attention on the problems of the Nepalese people and we hope that international interest in this auction will generate substantial funds for the charities.”

Anna Lawford of the Alpine Club said: “Alpine Club members are keen to support this auction for Nepal.

“Since exploration, climbing and trekking have been the main reason British people visit Nepal, we believe that the mountaineering community in Britain should be leading fundraising efforts to raise money for rebuilding Nepalese communities.”

The lots can all be seen on the BMC4Nepal section of the eBay website.

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