Wickers charity founder Henry Smith raises over £66,000 in bid to climb Antarctica’s highest peak

Henry Smith. Picture: Phil Weedon

Henry Smith. Picture: Phil Weedon - Credit: Phil Weedon

An entrepreneur is braving temperatures of minus 40°C and high speed winds to climb the highest peak in Antarctica to raise funds for the charity he founded to combat gun and knife crime.

Henry Smith. Picture: Phil Weedon

Henry Smith. Picture: Phil Weedon - Credit: Phil Weedon

Henry Smith who set up the Wickers Charity in Hackney Wick this year will set off on January 6 for a nine-day trek up Mount Vinson, where days consist of 24-hour sunlight.

Smith, 56, the CEO of property developers, the Aitch Group, has been training every day for three months to get his body in peak condition to tackle the 5000m high mountain – known as one of the Seven Summits.

Wickers provides young people aged eight to 18 with a safe haven at St Mary of Eton in Eastway, offering positive role models, learning opportunities, recreational activities and educational workshops.

Weekly sessions combine professionals visiting from coding, creative design, art, sport, educational support and employability skills.

With knife crime spiralling out of control in London, the charity is determined to show young people there are far better alternatives to getting involved in gangs.

Smith, who has already raised £66,000 of his £75,000 target, said: “I’m doing this all for the Wickers Charity, something very close to my heart as my brother-in-law was stabbed to death.

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“Our mission is to show these youths there is a better life out there.

“More often than not, these children are left to fend for themselves out on the streets and are often targeted by people older than them who will in turn manipulate the kids to begin to sell drugs on the street, carry weapons and get involved in the large epidemic of gun and knife violence.

“We believe in empowering them with skills and confidence in everyday life. We’re here to change and save lives.”

Smith is no stranger to extreme challenges and only last year went on an expedition to the North Pole and raised £43,667 for Teens Unite Fighting Cancer.

But this will be the most physical and mental challenge yet.

“It’s going to be seriously tough, but I’m excited,” he said.

“This is one of the most extreme peaks in Antarctica and is completely covered in snow and ice.

“No matter the size of your donation - from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I promise that with every penny we will strive to improve not only these children’s lives - but everyone they will come into contact with.”

To donate see justgiving.com/fundraising/henry-smith01#.