A GRANDMOTHER has declared her Himalayan climb one of the toughest tasks she has ever faced – but has renewed her vow to back life-saving research.
Ellen Crossley was attacked by leeches, had to negotiate powerful waterfalls and scaled cliff faces during the height of monsoon season as part of a 30-strong expedition of women as they took on the Annapurna in support the Genesis Research Trust.
The retired nurse set out on the challenge after her daughter Tanith MacLeod, 30, a former St Anthony’s student who works in The Barnes, suffered complications after she gave birth to her first son, Sebastian, now three.
She added £4,140 to the fund through events, donations and money raised by her family, with the charity to use the cash to support research into conditions including cervical and ovarian cancers, genetic diseases and infertility.
The 53-year-old from Boldon, who is married to Jim, 46, and also mum to Ciara Crossley, 17, and James MacLeod, 31, will celebrate tomorrow night at The Travelling Man in Boldon, where those who helped her through her challenge will be thanked at a race night and top up the fund even further.
Ellen said of her week-long trek: “It was fantastic, a brilliant experience, but definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
“That was mostly because it was so hot, it was about 30°C, which is about has hot as Greece on holiday, and then we climbed a mountain during the day and then slept in a tent at night.
“My family have been great. They said they really missed me and they’re really proud.
“It was a big group and everyone else was great and we all did really well.
“The Nepalese people were absolutely lovely. So hospitable and friendly.”
Ellen and some of the women she met through the climb are now considering signing up to the London to Brighton 100k walk at the end of May.
Tanith, who is also mum to Tobias, one, is training to become a nursery nurse and got engaged to partner Stewart Buck, 32, on their eldest boy’s birthday.
Donations can still be made via justgiving.com/EllenCrossley.