Billionaire mobile phone tycoon John Caudwell plans to scale Europe’s highest mountain in his latest attempt to raise money for his children’s charity.
The Staffordshire businessman is part of a team of six who will embark on a 15,781 ft climb up Mont Blanc, in the French Alps, in a bid to raise more than £20,000 for Caudwell Children.
The charity, which was founded by Mr Caudwell, provides direct donations of treatment, therapy and specialist equipment for sick and disabled youngsters throughout the UK.
The alpine climb is the latest in a series of challenges for the entrepreneur, who has also completed an Athens to London bike ride and climbed to base camp on Mount Everest.
The group will set off on April 20 and will have to endure freezing temperatures and ice-covered climbs for up to seven days to reach the summit.
Mr Caudwell said: “It’s going to be incredibly tough but the team are determined to succeed and raise the funds needed for the charity.
“Whether in business or in sport, I thrive on personal challenges and this expedition is another new and exciting adventure.”
To date Caudwell Children has donated more than £10?million to thousands of sick and disabled youngsters with more than 160 medical conditions.
The team will tackle the peaks, ranked 11th in the highest in the world, on skis with a special seal-skin surface – a far cry from when Mark Beaufoy became the first Englishman to climb Mont Blanc in 1787.
Mr Caudwell, aged 56, who climbed to an Everest base camp in 2007 as part of a medical experiment to test the effects of altitude, amassed his fortune after setting up mobile phone firm Caudwell Group in 1987.
The group, which included giant retailer Phones 4U, saw its turnover increase from £13?million in 1991 to more than £1 billion in 2000 and Mr Caudwell sold his 85 per cent stake in 2006 for more than £1.7?billion.
Caudwell Children chief executive Trudi Beswick said: “Climbing Mont Blanc is not something that can be taken lightly and they have trained really hard to take up this challenge and are determined to succeed.
“We hope that people will get behind their efforts and help them achieve their objectives to really make a difference and give disabled youngsters a brighter future with equipment or therapy to improve their quality of life.”
Father-of-five Mr Caudwell was placed at number 450 on the Forbes magazine list of billionaires published last month.
n To pledge support, go to www.justgiving.com/ladameblanchechallenge or send cheques made out to Caudwell Children to Mont Blanc Challenge, Caudwell Children, Shelton Old Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 7RY.