A SHEFFIELD father is to realise an ambition of going to Everest – and he will do it in memory of the son he lost 16 years ago.
John Barnes will be trekking to the base camp in October to raise money for the Jessop Wing special care baby unit.
He wants to thank staff for the way they went “beyond the call of duty” when twins Jake and Thomas were born at Jessop’s. Despite their efforts, Jake died after only nine hours.
John and his wife Betty, who live in Treswell Crescent, Hillsborough, have never forgotten the care they received at such a traumatic time and now John is aiming to combine his gratitude with an adventure to mark the milestone of his 50th birthday.
Thomas has grown up into a 16-year-old lad who has just completed his GCSEs and is looking to become a sports physiotherapist.
His parents are proud of him, yet Jake is never far from their thoughts.
John has always had an ambition of going to Everest and will go on the trek to the base camp and back over 12 days.
It could have been a different type of adventure.
For his birthday, Betty gave him four envelopes, each offering something different.
As well as the Everest expedition, he could have gone to Las Vegas on a trip that included a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon or he could have seen volcanoes in Iceland or experienced the Northern Lights in Finland.
Deep down, Betty, aged 52, knew which he would choose.
John, who works at an engineering firm, said: “It’s always been in the back of mind to go to Everest – a lifetime ambition, I suppose.
“I’m fascinated to see it up close, rather than just look at pictures in books.
“I’ve also always wanted to do something in aid of the special care baby unit because of their support at that very traumatic time. I can still remember it all so clearly – everyone did everything they could, there were junior staff that should have gone home hours ago and there were still there. They were incredible.
“They also put us in touch with the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death or SANDS charity and the support I received there saved my life to be honest – I know that sounds dramatic but it did make such a difference.”
John said he was nervous but excited about the forthcoming trip.
“I can’t believe I am actually going!”