Soldier tackles a real mountain of a challenge in memory of close friend

PUBLISHED: 08:05 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:05 17 August 2018

Gary Hooson (left) and his friend. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Gary Hooson (left) and his friend. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

A soldier based at Carver Barracks has completed a hike up Ben Nevis with a tumble dryer strapped to his back to raise money for the family of his best friend who died.

Gary Hooson, based at the barracks in Wimbish, completed a 10.4-mile walk up the mountain with a tumbler dryer weighing 35 kilograms strapped to his back to raise money to help the wife and children of Steven Evens.

Steven was a close family friend who took his own life on July 26.

Gary, who decided he would undertake the challenge, made a make-shift bag to hold the dryer from a army burgen. He underestimated the actual weight of the tumble dryer after picking it up from the local recycling centre in Saffron Walden - he was hoping it would weigh a total of 25 kilograms, but the final weight came in at 35 kilograms.

“The event turned into a team effort with Sgt Mike Monaghan, as I massively underestimated the distance which turned out to be a 10.4 miles round with an altitude of 4,409ft, carrying a 35 kilogram tumble dryer, kindly donated by the local tip in Saffron Walden,” Gary said.

“The highlight of the walk was the support we received throughout the climb as we began to struggle near the summit. Myself and Mike got serious cramp in both legs and we couldn’t stand but the brilliant British public fed us sweets, nuts and chocolate, helping us finish the last leg. The worst part was the five-mile trip down - the 35 kilogram dryer was very top heavy making the descent tricky and our legs had turned to jelly. It was just as hard as the climb.”

Gary completed the climb on Wednesday, August 8, finishing the feat in six hours and 40 minutes with the help of friends Mike Monoghan and Rob Doran.

To date, the feat has raised more than £1,000.

Gary has set up a JustGiving page for donations: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/dryer-challenge-for-evo.

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