Running for Charity in Honour of Mallory

21st September 2021
BY Sasha Popov (College) and Thomas Sharrock (College), Sixth Form Pupils

Honouring Mallory

One hundred years ago, on the 23rd of September 1921, George Herbert Leigh-Mallory (College, 1900-05) finished his expedition from Mumbai to the North Col of Mount Everest - closer to the mountain’s summit than any man had ever gone before. The journey took him and his team 2,500 km across the Tibetan countryside, as they approached the summit from its Northern (Chinese) side.

On the 24th of September 2021, the first day of Exeat, 450 Winchester pupils and OWs will attempt to collectively replicate his feat, 5000 miles from where George Mallory made his original journey (in decisively more hospitable conditions), aiming to run 2,500km en masse in the space of just a couple of hours. All have been encouraged to run and raise much needed funds for the Lotus Flower Trust.  Distances range from just 1km to 20km routes, presenting a test of bravery and determination, and a fitting tribute to the courage of George Mallory as he embarked on his expedition.

Supporting the Lotus Flower Trust

Perhaps even more impressive is the determination of John Hunt, the 80-year-old CEO of Lotus Flower Trust, which has a long-standing relationship with Winchester College through which over £300,000 has been raised in recent years. He will complete his climb of the height of Everest (8848m) on his stepper at home in time for the 24th of September. Having survived a heart attack in 2020, he is disappointed not to be able to climb the real Mount Everest; “I know it’s a cheat to climb Everest in any way but the proper way, but following the path set by Captain Tom who set for us all such a fine example, I feel the effort to be well worthwhile.”

John Hunt, CEO of Lotus Flower Trust, at one of their projects

Fundraising sustainably

At Winchester, the challenge has been organised by a close team of boys, with weekly meetings to bring all the aspects of the event together. Environmental sustainability was a serious consideration, to truly support the efforts made by the Lotus Flower Trust in India, so no disposable cups or cutlery will be used at the cake sale after the event and the pupils have devised a system for providing water for runners without using plastic bottles. Meanwhile, the school’s Sustainable Fashion Society has designed event shirts for all runners, which are made from 50% post-consumer recycled cotton and 50% BCI certified organic cotton.

All money raised will go to initiatives in India, the starting point of Mallory’s journey. Rural India has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 and needs help more than ever. Children and young adults, the same age of our runners, are in desperate need of help. Since we cannot currently send pupils out to India to help the charity, as we have done nearly every year for the past ten years, this is a run of solidarity and support .

The funds will support three initiatives:

  1. Building a farm at Basgo Nunnery in Ladakh to help the nuns and destitute girls who reside here become self-sufficient.
  2. Creating artificial glaciers to restore water to four remote Himalayan villages.
  3. Funding the first phase of a new school for 1,000 poor children currently studying in unsafe conditions close to Moradabad. 

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