Norfolk astronomer Mark Thompson celebrates successful Borneo climb
PUBLISHED: 17:37 04 June 2018
Norfolk astronomer Mark Thompson is celebrating reaching the summit of Borneo's highest mountain and raising money for Barnardo's children's charity in the process.
Alongside TV personalities Lydia Bright, Made in Chelsea’s Sam Thompson and James Dunmore and presenter Helen Fospero, Mark successfully treked through the Malaysian island’s jungle before ascending the 4,095m high Mount Kinabalu.
Mr Thompson, 45, who was born and lives in Norfolk near Harleston with his wife Karen and children Phoebe, 9, and Riley, 7, had to brave temperatures up to 38 degrees celsius (100.4F) - along with intense humidity, blood-sucking leeches and scary nights in the pitch black jungle.
The astronomer, who is perhaps best known for presenting BBC’s Stargazing Live, said that his decision to embark on the treck was inspired partly by a drive to help children less fortunate than his own.
He said: “I’ve got a couple of children who are nine and seven. They have a great life but I totally realise there are kids around the world who are less lucky.
“It was great to work with different people who came together to raise money for a briliant cause.”
Prior to climbing the mountain, Mr Thompson joked that he had never climbed anything higher than Gas Hill in Norwich.
He said: “I’ve never done any significant mountains before this. I think I had trained just enough before this to go through the jungles and mountains.”
Lydia Bright said: “It has been the most difficult thing I have ever done, both physically and mentally. When you are so tired, it’s so difficult to keep moving, but the team have been brilliant. We all encouraged each other when we were flagging and finally we all made it
It was the most incredible view and brilliant moment - I’m so proud to have made the climb and raised money for a charity that’s so close to my heart.”
Mount Kinabalu is one of the most important biological sites in the world, with between 5,000 to 6,000 species of plants, 326 species of birds and more than 1000 mammalian species.
Those wanting to donate to Mr Thompson for his trek can still do so at his JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/Mark-Thompson91.