Retired Bristol Professor and fundraiser Ian Sutherland, was sent an unexpected message of support today from actor and mountaineer Brian Blessed as he prepares to embarked on his virtual Everest climb to raise funds for Bristol Old Vic. Aged 75, has set himself the challenge of climbing 29,032ft – beginning his expedition at 11am this morning (Monday 21 Sep) and taking 10 days to complete.
Veteran actor Brian Blessed began his career at Bristol Old Vic alongside other famous faces such as Peter O’Toole and Richard Harris and has also climbed Everest himself – not once but three times without oxygen – reaching heights of 28,200 feet in 1993 and 25,200 feet in 1996, aged 60.
Now he is lending his support to Ian’s attempt, sending him a video message to mark the first day; “It’s people like you that keep it all going, so you have my support and many congratulations on this marvelous effort. Go for it my son, go for it!”
Ian is climbing in memory of his wife Rosamund who sadly passed away at the beginning of 2019 and held Bristol Old Vic close to her heart. He is scaling 24,432ft from ‘Kathmandu’ to the peak of ‘Everest’ by climbing from the basement to the roof of his house 573 times.
“My wife Rosamund and I both loved attending Bristol Old Vic performances and I know she’d think this is the sort of mad thing I would do. As a supporter of the theatre, I am committed to raise a significant amount of money to help them through this Covid-19 crisis. Despite losing 75% of their income overnight, throughout lockdown they have continued to support local artists and emerging talent right through the crisis and are continuing to provide paid opportunities for artists to create and perform. This is also the closest I’ll get to climbing Everest, which I’ve always wanted to try since 2006, when my son Andrew climbed as part of the EverestMax Expedition. At least I shouldn’t have to worry about altitude sickness!”
Ian is aiming to raise the height of Everest in pounds sterling for the Bristol Old Vic. Either the height in metres – £8,850 or hopefully its height in feet – £29,032. To follow Ian’s climb or to donate, visit Ian’s Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/
Or find other ways to support Bristol Old Vic here: www.bristololdvic.org.uk/