Thursday, June 21st, 2018.

Three Peaks Challenge hiker David Newburn of Excelsior Academy

Caring Excelsior Academy teacher David Newburn will tomorrow tackle climbing the UK’s three highest mountains in 24 hours to raise funds to help a friend’s son in his fight against cancer.

David, his wife Kristy and friend Tim Hunt will attempt to scale Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in a day to raise money to support the exceptional young people’s cancer care given at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

In 2015, their friend’s son aged just 20 was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – a rare cancer found in bones or the tissue around bones.

The outstanding support of hospital staff through 14 rounds of chemotherapy, a femur replacement and then further medical treatment to tackle cancer found in his young friend’s lungs, motivated David to raise funds for the Freeman’s Cancer Care Ward for Teenagers and Young Adults.

Such has been the response to David’s Just Giving charity appeal that he has more than doubled his original target of £750 before setting foot on Ben Nevis – the first mountain on their Three Peaks Challenge.

David and Kristy will leave for Edinburgh Airport straight after school tomorrow night to pick up Tim.

From there they’ll head off to the Grampians to tackle the 1,344 metre high Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak, which they hope to summit and be back to their car by in around four hours.

Scafell Pike in the Lake District at 978m is next on their hit list, which ends with the ascent of the 1,085m high Snowdon in North Wales, conquered by 10pm Saturday at the latest.

All three in the group are highly accomplished hikers, having scaled a 6,000m high volcano in Ecuador, Mount Kinabalu in Borneo and climbed to Mount Everest base camp.

Coming down from Everest base camp four years ago, by pure chance David, on a sabbatical at the time, met the Excelsior Academy school party who were heading up the mountain on the trip of a lifetime!

“Throughout his time in hospital, the staff at the Freeman went above and beyond to provide the most pleasant experience possible for my friend’s son and his family,” said David.

“He was continually back and forth to the Freeman and even had to spend his 21st birthday there.

“They have wonderfully decorated rooms to feel more like bedrooms than hospital rooms.

“All these things help to make life a little easier for patients and families fighting this awful disease.”

David continued: “The response we’ve had so far to our challenge has been unbelievable. Barclays Bank has very kindly said that it will double whatever we raise which is fantastic news, so we could be heading for over £3,000 for the hospital.

“It will be tiring after a week at work but we’ve got some friends who are doing the driving for us after Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike so we can get some sleep before we get there.”

We’ll update you this weekend to reveal how David, Kristy and Tim got on in their charity trek.