James and his wife, Karen, came to Falkland in 1987 to take up posts as teachers locally. As a dedicated mountaineer, the Munros and Corbetts were very familiar to James for whom the regular challenges of scaling Scotland’s peaks were an important part of his life. This includes 3000 ascents of East and West Lomond. Indeed, James was first local in the Falkland Hill Race on many occasions. However, in 2014, James found his life changed irrevocably while walking in the Himalayas. James was in the Khumba area, in a place known as ‘The Three Passes’, having just left Gorak Shep, the nearest accommodation to Everest Base Camp. It was then that news came to him of the death and devastation that had been caused by a massive avalanche just above Everest Base Camp on the Nepal side of the mountain. Sixteen local porters died, leaving 54 children with no fathers and their families with little or no income.
James and Tashi worked tirelessly; James in Scotland, supported wholeheartedly by Karen, and Tashi in Nepal. (Tashi’s emails to James entailed a five hour round trip of walking down to the nearest internet facility). The Foundation was set up; a trekking agency and photo tour company were established and the charity was registered in Nepal with a committee consisting of local Sherpa people. Charitable status in Scotland is imminent.
A BBC documentary about the Sherpas; the trekking agency and the charity has been made and shown, with another one scheduled. James continues to remain totally committed to the charity that he co-founded, travelling regularly to Nepal. He works ceaselessly on fund raising enterprises and awareness raising activities. He is dedicated to the aims of the Foundation and, together with Tashi, will always work to ensure that the Sherpa people of Nepal receive the help and support that they require
as told to Liz Coates
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