Norwich businessman to climb Everest at 61

A 61-year-old Norwich businessman is climbing Mount Everest with a pal to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Jeff Crooke, who is managing director of Lintott Control Systems Limited in Jarrold Way, Bowthorpe, and his friend Phil Purdy, have already raised more than �100,000 for Cancer Research UK by scaling Cho Oyu – the sixth highest mountain in the world.

Now the pair plan to tackle its neighbour, Mount Everest, in their most ambitious adventure yet, following Hillary and Tenzing's route on an expedition likely to take around 72 days.

All the money raised from their climb, which begins in May next year, will be spent on research into oesophageal and pancreatic cancer at the Cancer Research UK Centre in Cambridge.

Mr Crooke, a father-of-two from Hainford, has scaled several mountains with Mr Purdy including Mont Blanc in the Alps.

He said: 'I am extremely fortunate in that I have never experienced the suffering caused by cancer at very close hand but, like many others, I see the devastation it causes to those who do and to those often left behind.

'It's been amazing to see, first-hand, some of the fantastic work being carried out in Cambridge and it's made us even more determined to reach our target of �50,000.'

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Mr Purdy, a father-of-four from Brighouse in West Yorkshire, began fundraising for the charity after losing his father to lung cancer in 2002.

The pair, who lost a mutual friend to oesophageal cancer, will be doing a series of training and fundraising events in the lead-up to the expedition, including cycling, running and climbing.

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Are you planning an event for charity? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email