An Ulster couple are literally on top of the world after becoming the first husband and wife from here to make it to the summit of Mount Everest.
Lynne and Noel Hanna, from Dromore, Co Down, used their record-breaking climb to raise £150,000 for the Ulster Cancer Foundation’s Personal Everest Project.
The couple made it to the top at 12.26pm yesterday, led by legendary Russian climber and guide Nicholay Cherhy.
Joyce Savage, head of appeals & marketing at the Ulster Cancer Foundation, said: “This is a tremendous achievement and we send our heartiest congratulations.
“We have been eagerly following their progress and we’ve been in regular contact with them as they charted every step of their climb for us.
“We shared in their frustration as they had to postpone their summit attempt last year due to China closing all routes to Everest and when the weather hampered the start of their climb this year.
“Their remarkable achievement has been the culmination of many months of rigorous training and we salute their fortitude and bravery.”
She said their thoughts would stay with the couple as they began the arduous trek back to base camp, which could be just as |dangerous as the climb to the summit.
This expedition was Noel and Lynne’s second attempt at reaching Everest’s summit as a husband and wife team.
In 2005, they made an attempt but Lynne abandoned her summit chance when Noel was diagnosed with retinal haemorrhaging causing blindness, which lasted for six weeks.
Noel did, however, return to Everest and reached the summit in April/May 2006.
Meanwhile, explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has become the oldest Briton to reach the summit of Everest.
The 65-year-old adventurer said he had fulfilled what had “long been a personal goal”.
It was his third bid to conquer the mountain. Last year, after reaching 8,400 metres, he had to turn back due to exhaustion.
In 2005, his heart gave out, and he was left on the mountainside feeling “as if an elephant was sitting on my chest”.
His success, in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care, came after he had vowed never to risk his life again.