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82-year-old climbs the equivalent of Everest 18 times over to raise £50,000 in honour of his wife

Media releases

08 Aug 2022

An 82-year-old man from Gairloch, in the north-western Scottish Highlands has battled through all weather conditions to complete all of Scotland’s 282 Munros in 1,000 days – raising over £50,000 for the ROS and Alzheimer's Scotland, after his wife Janet was diagnosed with both conditions.

In just over two years, Nick Gardner has climbed over 500,000 feet (152,000 metres), which is the equivalent of scaling Everest (8,848m) 18 times. He has also walked an incredible 2,000 miles (3,218 km) – the equivalent of hiking from Edinburgh to Greece.

This Saturday (13 August), Nick will embark on his final munro to complete the challenge. Members of the ROS team look forward to supporting Nick in Scotland this weekend to celebrate this inspirational achievement, with some even joining him for the final climb.

Nick said:

Many people describe my wife Janet as being the most gentle and compassionate person they have ever met. As a family we would do anything to make her better, but we can’t. However, we can help others.

“I’m an experienced walker and climber, and despite my grand old age, I think I have the mountaineering skills, experience and fitness to succeed. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try and do some good for the two charities which are so close to our hearts.

Janet was always passionate about helping others and I’m raising money in her name to hopefully help make things a little better for others suffering from these dreadful diseases.

“The challenge hasn’t been easy and there have been some summits, like the Black Cuillin, that are difficult for an average person in their 40s, let alone someone of my age, but the support of the public has got me through. It particularly meant a lot to me that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall wished me well in my challenge, after inviting me to an afternoon tea at Clarence House last year for an event with the ROS.”

Nick’s daughter, Sally McKenzie, said:

“The last few years have been a really difficult time for Dad, but his decision to take on this challenge has definitely been worthwhile on many levels. I am so proud of his perseverance and dedication. I’ve even nominated him to the Guinness Book of World Records for the oldest person to climb the munros.

Janet is one of around 300,000 people living with osteoporosis in Scotland and over 3.5 million across the UK. It’s a life-changing condition that causes bones to weaken and break more easily. Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent disease” because of under-diagnosis, under-treatment and low public awareness – yet one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to the condition and it’s costing our overwhelmed NHS £4.5 billion a year.

Craig Jones, Chief Executive of the Royal Osteoporosis Society. He said:

“We are extremely grateful to Nick for taking on this challenge to help us beat osteoporosis. The condition not only has a huge impact on the millions of people living with it in the UK, but also their carers and loved ones. Every penny raised supports our mission to improve the bone health of the nation and transform the lives of people affected by osteoporosis through our support services and ground-breaking research.

We’ve been following Nick’s journey every step of the way and are looking forward to being alongside him at the finish line to celebrate his impressive achievement – how many 82-year-olds can say they’ve done what he has and for such a vital cause? He has done Janet proud and the money he’s raised to support people living with osteoporosis will make a real difference.”

Nick is also raising money for Alzheimer Scotland after his wife Janet was diagnosed with the condition four years ago. There are 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland, and around 50% have Alzheimer’s disease. We do not yet know exactly what causes dementia.

To read more about Nick's story and support his challenge, visit his Just Giving page.

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