Former Ilkley woman's Everest trek raises thousands

Wharfedale Observer: Charles and Laura during their trek Charles and Laura during their trek

A retired teacher and a former Ilkley woman have raised thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support after successfully hiking to Everest base camp.

Charles Appleyard, 60, of Skipton Road, Ilkley, and Laura Thwaites, now living in London, but who grew up on St John’s Road, Ben Rhydding and attended Ghyll Royd School, separately signed up to take part in the trek. Both have been helped by the cancer support charity and wanted to give something back.

Mr Appleyard was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year and underwent surgery at Airedale Hospital to successfully remove the cancer.

It was while looking on Macmillan Cancer Support’s website that he came across their Everest Base Camp challenge and signed up.

Laura, whose brother is local cycling hero Scott Thwaites, set off on a campaign to travel the world raising a huge amount of money for charity when her step dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

Sadly, he lost his short battle with cancer but Laura was inspired by the support that Macmillan gave not only to her step father but also to her family. In the four years since her step dad’s death Laura has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, cycled to Paris and now hiked to base camp Everest, raising £20,000 in sponsorship.

Mr Appleyard, a former special needs teacher, who has always been fascinated by Everest, has seen his own fundraising total creep over £6,000 since completing the 18-day trip.

Mr Appleyard said: “The group total is near £150,000, so it has been worthwhile. Thanks to all the local people who have supported us, and Macmillan, in achieving this total.”

He added: “The trek itself was all that I could have expected and hoped for.

“Deep blue skies, quiet little villages and hamlets, deep valleys, rushing rivers/streams, wonky bridges, massive mountains everywhere and lots of hills to climb.

“The days were hot and the nights very, very cold, we reckon at least -20c some nights.

“Kathmandu was like the Wild West, Lukla is Dodge City. I would never want to drive in these places, honestly it was mayhem!

“Having said all that the smiles of the people, their friendly approach, the narrow streets, the smells and the night lights will all linger long in the memory.”

Laura added: “As I get older I sadly hear more and more about people I know that are touched by cancer.

“Macmillan are the hero’s behind the often hidden support given to suffers and their families, without their support life would be so much more difficult as they are always at the end of the phone and not only offer advise but invaluable support.

“Macmillan is a charity I have been touched by and obviously feel passionately about. A cause I know, with your help, we can raise even more money for, enabling other families to get the support that we have been fortunate enough to receive.”

Mr Appleyard can be sponsored at and Laura’s page is at


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