A LEDBURY man has returned from the driving snows of Saalbach in Austria with memories of skiing with the legendary Eddie 'The Eagle Edwards", during a world record attempt for charity.
The aim was to get over 500 people on the slopes, with each skier managing to ski the equivalent in height of Mount Everest in one day: but wintry conditions meant the record was not broken.
However, one of the skiers was Rob Stewart, of Masefield Avenue, who is a professional skier and full time ski writer; and he's also the man who helped ski-jump legend Eddie the Eagle Edwards to perform on the ski-jump last year, as part of the former Olympian's team.
He has described Edwards as both "a very good skier" and "a really nice chap."
Edwards 1988 became the first competitor since 1929 to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping. He finished 73rd out of 73 competitors in the 70 m and 90 m events, and he was portrayed in the British media as the plucky outsider. But Edwards, who has since become the subject of an amusing popular film, still became the British record holder.
Mr Stewart said of the Saalbach challenge: "Over 270 people participated in the day to raise money for the charity, including of course Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards. The event was for the charity Ski 4 Cancer, which provides alpine based respite days and short-breaks for British families affected by cancer
"The weather was extremely challenging with heavy snowfall throughout the whole day, slowing many down and stopping around 40 skiers from completing the challenge to ski the height of Everest in a day."
Mr Stewart added: "I did manage it, but I wanted to do double the distance. That wasn’t to be in those conditions, but I clocked up approximately 10,000 metres during the day."
Mount Everest is 8,848 metres, so Mr Stewart topped that easily, despite the blizzard conditions.
The event looks set to be a great fund-raising success.
Mr Stewart said: "My friend Scott Hammond who lost his wife, Wenche, last year to cancer managed to raise over £7,000 personally.
"Wenche, who was a very good friend, died at the age of 42 after a six month battle, leaving behind her husband Scott and their five year old daughter Maja."
Mr Stewart is hoping local people will help to add to his own charity total, which currently stands at £143.
People can still donate if they wish to do so at: > http://www.ski4cancer.org/rob-stewart-everest-2017
Meanwhile, Mr Stewart is already looking forward to 2018.
He said: "Plans are to do the event again next year, possibly in Saalbach-Hinterglemm again."