TEN-year-old Bailey Powell was all the inspiration his dad needed to get him to the top of the highest mountain in the British Isles – when he almost didn’t make it.
Kevin Powell organised the charity climb to the summit of Ben Nevis to raise money for Hartlepool’s Springwell special school, where his son is a pupil.
Kevin, Bailey, their two whippets Gypsy and Molly, and pal Anthony Young, 36, set off on their trek on Saturday morning.
Two-thirds of the way up the 4,409ft mountain as the air became thin, Kevin – who sometimes suffers with palpitations – felt he could go no further and told Bailey to go on without him.
But after trekking another quarter-of-a-mile, Kevin watched as Bailey turned on his heels and came running back to his dad and spurred him on to the peak.
Kevin, 36, said: “I could feel my chest getting tight and I started to have a bit of a funny turn with the air getting so thin. I turned to Bailey and said ‘I can’t make it son, you go up and do it’.”
“He did go on ahead but he kept looking back at me and I knew he was worrying about me. He got further up and then he just started running back down to get me.
“He said ‘you’ve got to do it dad, you’ve got to do it’. After that I couldn’t give up, so we plodded on and made it to the top.”
Kevin added: “It was a fantastic feeling when we got to the top. It was a brilliant experience and will be a really good memory for us.”
Kevin, who is unemployed and lives with Bailey in Ridlington Way, off King Oswy Drive, says he has raised at least £500 in sponsorship money. It will go towards paying for a sensory room for children at the Wiltshire Way school.
Bailey has learning difficulties and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Kevin said: “The day-to-day activities for the kids would be hard for anyone to deal with so I thought this was the least I could do. I’ve got an old Ford Escort that I’d always wanted, but I’m going to sell that as well and put the money towards the school.
“Within the year I’m determined to get that sensory room for them.”
The zig-zag track up the Scottish mountain, close to the town of Fort William, is five miles to the top.
Kevin and Bailey and the team set off at 9.30am and were back at their starting point at about 5pm.
Kevin said: “We were all shattered afterwards, especially the poor dogs, they were goosed.”