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Ex-headteacher scales Aconcagua

25 February 2013 09:54

The former headteacher scaled the mountain to provide a positive example for youngsters

The former headteacher scaled the mountain to provide a positive example for youngsters

Most teachers tell pupils to 'do as I say', but one former headteacher decided that wasn't good enough and went the extra mile to set youngsters a fine example and say 'do as I do'. Peter Lewis, who used to be head of Bulmershe School in Woodley, raised £1,200 for the Alzheimer's Society by scaling Aconcagua in Argentina. The 58-year-old said it was a desire to follow the advice he used to give to students that drove him to take on the 6,962m-tall mountain - and win.

"I often spoke to the students about the importance of facing up to and overcoming challenges in life and making the most of opportunities that came their way. On my retirement, I felt I should follow my own advice," he said. He was part of a 10-strong group that spent 16 days making their way to the summit, but only three of them managed to make it all the way, along with their guide and a group leader from Adventure Peaks. The small number who completed the challenge shows how difficult and dangerous taking on such a challenge could be. Any other retired people looking to take on a physical challenge might want to take out senior travel insurance before setting off.

Mr Lewis, who has previously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and most of the mountains in the UK, explained that the altitude affected some people in the group who were not able to get to the summit. The father-of-two, who used a satellite phone from base camp to stay in contact with his wife Mary, explained that his previous experience helped him get through it. He said the high altitude and thin air posed problems but he remained steadfastly determined and that is what got him through the ordeal, which included having to wear crampons for traction to cope with snowy conditions for the final 12-hour climb. Mr Lewis decided to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society because his father John suffered age-related dementia before his death in 2010.