IN October, 2023, David and Wendy Handcock, both of whom are heavily involved in the Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop, decided to attempt a trek of the three high passes in the Himalayas.

They hoped to raise money for the Shop, and more than achieved their goal, without any serious ill-effects.

Wendy and David gave us a thrilling talk in the Parish Hall, illustrated with amazing views, and held their large audience spellbound, and very envious.

Led by a very experienced guide, and with Sherpas effortlessly scrambling ahead with their luggage, they battled altitude sickness, intense cold and dehydration, staying in basic tea-houses and sustained by flasks of hot tea supplied by the porters.

They had trained in the area around their home near Upham, accompanied by their black labrador, but did find it hard going at times.

In passing, they saw the Hillary School, endowed by the famous climber for local children, and admired the long strings of prayer flags, the yaks with their enormous horns, birds of prey and unusual flowers, such as blue poppies.

Heating in the tea-houses was with Yak dung, and very efficient.  At one tea house, they saw a local lady carrying in the pats to stoke the stove, and then going on the cook their supper!

David and Wendy achieved their object of buying some scales to weigh vegetables, plus a more sophisticated till, having raised more than £1,600.

Mary Nunn