Friday, 25 June 2010

Final Thoughts by Matt Snook

It’s been almost a month now since Pete and I brushed the Top of the World. I’ve just about regained the feeling in my fingertips, the damage done to my right eye is healed and I’ve regained about a stone of the 2 and a half I lost whilst on the mountain. And yet, things still haven’t sunk in. It doesn’t feel real; to be honest I don’t think it ever will.

As young lads, John and I used to dream about Mount Everest; to us it was a magical place, the summit of achievement, and the pinnacle of our ambitions. We used to gaze at pictures and images of the mountain in sheer wonderment. Even as I arrived at Base Camp a few months ago, seeing her for the first time in all her glory, I still got goose-bumps and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. She looked so special, so untouchable, so magical.

For me, having climbed it, the magic has gone. No longer do the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I look at a picture of Everest, no longer do I get the goose-bumps on my arms as I try to convince myself that one day I’ll get there and no longer do I see it as the most amazing thing I could ever do with my life. They say you should never meet your hero in life, maybe the same rings true for mountains…

I hate that the magic I once shared with John has gone. But I have nothing to complain about, as that magic has been replaced by the memories. For that beautiful, beautiful moment of standing higher than anyone else in the world, I would go through it all again and more.

I am extremely proud of the work we have done for Help for Heroes and the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation. Our aim for the next few months is to tell our story to as many people as will listen, aiming to double our current fundraising total to £30,000. It’s not the £100,000 we initially set out to raise, but times are tough, something about a recession??

We have been completely over-whelmed by the support we have had. Even now I’m hearing from people I have never met before who have followed our adventure. A massive and sincere thank you to everyone who has followed us this year, read our blogs, and donated to our cause. A particular thank you also to our sponsors, SFL and NorthwoodUK, who have supported us no end and we are so grateful to them for believing in us. Also a massive thank-you to the Tasty Marketing girls, the guys at RVOps, Steve Howard at Lloyds Pharmacy, Jag Sarmotta at The North Face and Jill Borrie at Mansell Mason. We really couldn’t have done it without your help.

At the risk of making this sound like an award acceptance speech (probably not the Oscars, something a little more low-key maybe…), I’d also like to thank my friends and family. Especially my parents, who now seem to be more knowledgeable on the history of Everest than I am, to Vicky and Tom for sorting out everything at home while we’ve been away and to Bex for enduring me this last year, you are more than I deserve.

Last month we achieved something we had been working hard towards for the last year, but had been dreaming of for all our lives. It didn’t come easy, nothing in life that’s worth having ever does, but we dared to dream, we worked hard to accomplish it and we’re very proud to be the first to summit for Help for Heroes and the JTYAF.

Thank you once again for being a part of our incredible year.


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