Tragic climber gives apprentice a start


Steve Creswell

A MOUNTAINEER has helped fund a teenager’s apprenticeship – seven months after he died in a landslide in the Himalayas.

Alan Slater was part of a three-man team that raised £7,000 to help youngsters find work at Weaver Vale Housing Trust in October 2012 by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

A year later he was killed, aged 67, while scaling a 17,000ft peak in India as part of a group of 10 experienced climbers.

It is thought that heavy rainfall caused a huge landslide that also claimed the lives of two Indian climbers.

This week 17-year-old Luke Clarke thanked Alan’s widow, Margaret, and the two other Kilimanjaro climbers, Cheshire West and Chester councillor Alan McKie, 71, and Ian Hamilton-Burke, 68, for helping kickstart his career.

And Margaret was presented with a new bird table as a thank you to her late husband for his contribution towards the apprenticeship.

Cllr McKie said: “It was a grand opportunity for us to meet with Luke who is a fine young man and worthy of the apprenticeship placement.

“Alan would have been pleased to see that the funds raised from the Kilimanjaro climb have been used to assist a young person’s career and will benefit the older residents of Weaver Vale and beyond for years to come.”

Calling themselves ‘Three Old Men on a Mountain’, the trio undertook the Kilimanjaro challenge as they felt strongly about the importance of elderly care and youth employment.

Luke, who lives with his parents at a trust property in Cuddington, said: “I am very grateful for the opportunity to have an apprenticeship at the trust and enjoy working with older people.

“I like the satisfaction on their faces when we’ve completed the work for them as I know small things mean a lot to people who don’t have anyone to do odd jobs for them.

“That’s what I love about my role.”

Luke started his two-year apprenticeship with the trust last October and will be undertaking two NVQ level 2 courses.

He has already started a 12-month painting and decorating course at South Cheshire College and will then study for an NVQ level 2 in customer service.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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