A BOLTON councillor is spending the festive period trekking across Nepal in aid of a local charity.

Cllr Paul Heslop, who represents Kearsley, says that his 10-day sponsored walk will help to raise money for Farnworth-based AMFD, which helps to support education and schools in Nepal.

He explained that the work the charity makes a vital difference for Nepalese children and teachers.

The Bolton News:

Cllr Paul Heslop on his travels

In a message sent from his current location in the Asian country, Cllr Heslop said: "The Nepalese government pay for only two-thirds of teachers’ salaries, the school must find their own funds for the difference.

"Many schoolchildren previously stayed working in the fields at home knowing that they’d get fed rather than go to school.

"Nearly half of all children in Nepal are malnourished and a few years ago AMFD introduced school meals and last year built upon this and extended this to a breakfast club. Absenteeism is now virtually non-existent at the school.

"Word has spread about this pioneering little school and pupil numbers have increased by 40 per cent in the past few years."

The Bolton News:

A Nepalese footbridge

The Farnworth charity supports villages in the Jiri municipality and another village half-way between Kathmandu and Jiri, the village of Jhingane where AMFD helps to support two teachers.

AMFD receives regular donations but has had reduced income due to being unable to organise fundraising events due to Covid-19.

The Bolton News:

A sign showing the way to Kathmandu

Cllr Heslop, who leads the One Kearsley party, is following in the footsteps of several distinguished historical forebears.

According to the councillor, many people who climb Mt Everest fly from the capital Kathmandu to Lukla airport and then trek up to Everest base camp and onto Everest.

The Bolton News:

A traditional Nepalese house

In 1953, Sherpa Tensing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hilary started their trek to conquer the famous mountain from Kathmandu which led them to the small town of Jiri which is over 100 miles from the capital.

Jiri is known as the gateway to Everest and an increasing number of trekkers decide to choose the town as the starting point of their own journey rather than taking a flight.