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Eight-year-old boy prepares to climb to Everest base camp for charity

An eight-year-old mountaineer from Cumbria said he is “excited” ahead of climbing to Mount Everest base camp with his mother to raise money for charity.

Frankie McMillan has been regularly climbing mountains with mother Basia since he was a toddler, and last year took on his greatest challenge yet – becoming the youngest Briton to climb Mount Olympus in Greece.

Frankie has climbed more than 500 mountains and hills, including summiting Scafell Pike when he was only four years old and taking on all the 214 Wainwrights in the Lake District.

The young mountaineer said he is feeling prepared ahead of his base camp climb (Basia McMillian/PA)
The young mountaineer said he is feeling prepared ahead of his base camp climb (Basia McMillian/PA)

Ahead of his latest adventure, Frankie told the PA news agency his climb to Everest base camp was a step on his journey to scaling the entire mountain.

He said: “I would like to beat the record, to be the youngest person in the world to ever go to the top of Everest.

“It’s always been my dream and we want to just at least get to base camp. I know it’s not the top, but one day we’ll be there.”

The young mountaineer said he is feeling prepared ahead of his base camp climb.

“I am feeling excited but I’m also feeling a bit nervous.

“Our biggest fear is altitude sickness and the four ways to not to get it is to drink a lot, sleep a lot, rest a lot, and walk slowly.”

Frankie adores climbing and described his relationship with his mum as “like two peas in a pod” (Basia McMillian/PA)
Frankie adores climbing and described his relationship with his mum as “like two peas in a pod” (Basia McMillian/PA)

His mum, Ms McMillan, 40, said the pair are planning on walking more than 130 kilometres over 12 days.

She added: “I am a little bit nervous, of course, because of the altitude, but something that is quite important to understand is that it is not a decision we took out of the blue.”

Ms McMillan, a mountain guide, continued: “I am fully aware of the risks we are taking. I have done months of research on the subject, maybe even years because I’ve climbed in high altitude myself so I have experience in this area.

“We just have to give it our best. We don’t give up but if we are not feeling well we’ve pinky promised to each other that we’re going to turn back because safety comes first.”

Frankie became the youngest Briton to climb Mount Olympus in Greece (Basia McMillian/PA)
Frankie became the youngest Briton to climb Mount Olympus in Greece (Basia McMillian/PA)

Frankie started climbing as a toddler after he begged his mother to let him accompany her on a hike.

“I kept asking but finally one day she took me and I absolutely loved it and I just kept going and going and that just all added up to experience really,” he summarised.

Ms McMillan said: “I was always keen to go and explore the mountains and Frankie often watched me walking up the mountains and one day, he just kept asking if he can go with me.

“I just said, why not, I will give it a go. I really didn’t think he was going to make it to the top of the mountain… but he made it all the way to the top.

Frankie has climbed over 500 mountains and hills (Basia McMillian/PA)
Frankie has climbed over 500 mountains and hills (Basia McMillian/PA)

“As soon as we got down, he was asking where is our next adventure, and when we’re going to go and since then he has climbed… we lost count but it has definitely been over 500 mountains now.”

Frankie adores climbing and described his relationship with his mother as “like two peas in a pod”.

He said: “I enjoy spending time with the family, collecting treasure, all that sort of stuff – but my favourite part of the mountain is the scramble, basically rock climbing.”

Ms McMillan said: “We really get to know each other as well and also every day, every mountain, is a different adventure, a different memory.”

The pair have set up a JustGiving page and hope to raise money for children’s charity Make-A-Wish UK.

Frankie McMillan has been regularly climbing mountains with his mum Basia since he was a toddler (Basia McMillian/PA)
Frankie McMillan has been regularly climbing mountains with his mum Basia since he was a toddler (Basia McMillian/PA)

Frankie said: “My wish was to climb Mount Everest and Make-A-Wish UK is all about wishes and dreams, so why not, with my dream, I can make other people’s dreams happen.”

Pascale Harvie, president and general manager of JustGiving, said: “Frankie is a superstar. I’m in complete awe of his determination and generosity.

“At just eight years old he already holds a world record and has raised thousands of pounds for charity.”

Jason Suckley, chief executive of Make-A-Wish UK, said: “I am profoundly inspired by Frankie and his continued passion to support charities like ours.

“By taking on such an incredible challenge, Frankie will become a beacon of hope for many young children and we are honoured to be the chosen charity for his adventure.”

To donate to Frankie’s fundraiser, visit justgiving.com/page/frankie-everest-base-camp.