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Hackney Wick knife-crime charity founder raises £150,000 trekking to highest peak of Antarctica

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 January 2019

Henry Smith with the Wickers charity flag.

Henry Smith with the Wickers charity flag.

Archant

An entrepreneur has gone to extreme measures to raise £150,000 for a Hackney Wick charity – by trekking to the highest peak in Antarctica.

Henry Smith and colleagues in Antarctica.Henry Smith and colleagues in Antarctica.

Henry Smith, 57, who founded The Wickers Charity to combat knife and gun crime in the area, was “thrilled” to raise so much money, but not so thrilled to have battled highs of -55 and frostbite on his way to the summit of Mount Vinson.

Henry, CEO of property developers Aitch Group, said: “The most frightening part of the trek was when I almost lost my nose to frostbite!

“I thought to myself, not reaching the top would be a disaster. However with the tremendous support from my team we rallied on, my nose was wrapped up in a buff to get the blood flowing and thankfully we made it.

“Mountaineers have a level of fitness I’ve never experienced and as a novice I struggled and was not prepared for the life-threatening conditions. On the day of the summit we had a ‘warm day’ of -55 degrees.

Henry Smith with the Wickers charity flag.Henry Smith with the Wickers charity flag.

“As we got to the top I could barely see, my glasses were full of ice and I was really concerned about my nose. For a moment I felt so emotional. I’d done what I’d set out to achieve, my emotions were churning and I cried. A combination of relief, stress and euphoria all came together.

“That was the hardest challenge of my life but I would do it all again for the charity. I’m overwhelmed by the extraordinary donations received and can’t thank people enough for their generosity.”

The Wickers Charity offers youngsters a safe haven in St Mary of Eton Church, and Henry said the money would go towards finding a permanent home for the group, paying for more youth workers and apprenticeships.

Donations can still be made here.

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