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Boy, eight, youngest to climb Old Man of Hoy

Edward Mills, whose mother is terminally ill, completed the Orkney challenge to raise money for a cancer charity.

An eight-year-old boy has become the youngest climber to scale the 450ft high sea stack the Old Man of Hoy.

Edward Mills, from Dunnet, Caithness, completed the challenging climb to raise money for charity Climbers Against Cancer as his mother, Bekki Christian, has terminal breast cancer.

The family, who are originally from Stoud, Gloucestershire, had believed Bekki, 38, might not live long enough to see her son take on the sea stack off the coast of Orkney.

But she watched from a boat as he reached the top on Friday.

She said: “I am so proud of him. Proud of the way that he focused on just getting his head down and doing it.

“Full of admiration for him as I know he will look around and take in the view, he loves the sensation of being up high.

“He will be able to treasure the memory forever. And I am grateful to him, wanting to see him do this has given me purpose over the last few months as my health has declined and I was told in February that I wouldn’t be here to see it.

“I know that he is doing it for me. That feels really so very special.”

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Edward and his mum Bekki on the boat going over to Orkney (Rebecca Christian/PA)

Edward takes the title of youngest climber to scale the stack from Ollie Buckle of Flax Bourton near Bristol, who was 10 when he made it to the top in 2016.

The eight-year-old had raised more than £12,000 by Saturday afternoon, beating his original target of £10,000.

He said: “My mum taught us to love the outdoors, so she will be with us wherever we go.

“When I climb I don’t think about anything else.

“When my arms ache and my fingers are red I like to eat fish and chips to fill me up after climbing.

“I feel very pleased with what I have achieved. I think my mum is very proud.”

Edward did the climb alongside Ben West and Cailean Harker, elite climbers from Bristol.

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