Hartlepool climber scales new heights with royal occasion

Ellis Stewart (kneeling) with some of the Duke of Edinburgh award winners he presented with certificates at Holyrood Palace.
Ellis Stewart (kneeling) with some of the Duke of Edinburgh award winners he presented with certificates at Holyrood Palace.

Hartlepool mountaineer Ellis Stewart who twice attempted to scale Everest rubbed shoulders with royalty when he was invited to present prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Ellis Stewart met Prince Philip when he handed out certificates to gold award winners at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.

Ellis with wife Tamara (left) and mum Anne.

Ellis with wife Tamara (left) and mum Anne.

The 43-year-old of Bishop Cuthbert tried to climb Mount Everest in 2014 and again in 2015.

On his first attempt he had to abandon his climb after an avalanche struck, killing 16 Sherpa guides.

His hopes were dashed again last year following a devastating earthquake in Nepal which killed over 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000.

Ellis, a gold Duke of Edinburgh Award winner himself, took his wife Tamara and mum Anne for the special occasion which also celebrated 60 years of the award scheme.

He asked if I was going back. I said I would love to but my wife won’t let me and he said ‘oh so you’re grounded at the moment’

Ellis Stewart

He said: “When I got my award I couldn’t make it to Buckingham Palace for the presentation, that’s why Monday was really special for me.

“The Duke handed the certificates to me and I read out the names and presented them to a group of around 30 young people.

“He came out with his entourage and spoke to all the young people in the different groups and I had a couple of minutes when I told him about the events in Nepal last year.

“He asked if I was going back. I said I would love to but my wife won’t let me and he said ‘oh so you’re grounded at the moment’.

“For 95 he is very sprightly and breezed across the lawn.”

Ellis also met Alan Hinkes, who became the first Briton to have climbed all 14 peaks higher than 8,000 metres in the world, including Everest in 1996.

He added: “I was thinking here’s me with two Everest attempts and then there’s this guy who has done so much, so it was nice from that point of view to be recognised.”

The dad of three was invited to present the gold awards at the Queen’s official Scotland residence after handing out silver awards at Northfield School and Sports College in Billingham last year.

He said: “The Duke of Edinburgh Award officer for the northern region got word of the fact I had the gold award and said I would be good to bring up to the palace for the gold awards.”

This week, Ellis will also be the guest of honour at a school’s awards evening in Hull.