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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Remembering a Dear Friend

By Marco Gorin - Only 19 days separate Steve and me from the start of the trek. As always, the closer one gets to departure date the faster time seems to go by with various preparations. It has been a tumultuous few months during which much has been and is still being accomplished in support of the HIV+ orphans at the Suthasinee Noi-in Foundation in Yasothon (Thailand).

Amidst all of the preparations, communications and excitement though, Steve and I wish to keep the memory of our dear friend Nick James alive as, after all, he will be joining us on the trek.

We thought that a good way to keep his memory alive would be by publishing a recent letter that Steve's father, Frank Skilbeck, wrote to close friends of his to solicit support for the cause. While doing that Frank managed to capture and summarize Nick's personality rather well while providing all with an update on how Nick will still feature as part of the Charity Trek 2010 team in spite of his death this past July. Frank wrote:

Hi friends,

My apologies if you have already received the email included below from my son, Steve, regarding the planned Charity Trek in November with his climbing partner Marco, but I would like to add another dimension. (And Steve’s email warrants a second reading anyway).

A third, important member of the team, Nick James (Manchester lad) passed away in July after battling cancer for years. Nick was a solid citizen who contributed to last year’s trek and was doing the same for Charity Trek 2010. An ex-British army “lifer”, rugby player, a battler and tough as they come…Nick was also bighearted and concerned about marginalized families and is already greatly missed.

There is a bit of brighter news however which, paradoxically, allows a good man to finish his journey in the manner befitting. Steve and Marco have obtained permission from Nick’s widow to scatter Nick’s ashes in the mountains. This means that Nick gets to take part. Through the good offices of RR Pandey, boss of Everest Express a Nepali government-approved trekking agency assisting this entire effort, Steve and Marco have obtained permission to scatter Nick’s ashes atop Mount Kala Patthar. Why there? Because the incomparable views of Mount Everest from Kala Patthar at 18,000 feet suggests there is probably no finer, final resting place on the planet. A short ceremony may take place afterwards at Tenboche Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery of the Sherpa community. Tenzing Norgay who, you will recall, scaled Everest in 1953 with Hillary, was from the village of Tenboche. So…from all of us Nick…Namaste!

Finally, if you would like to donate, please don’t feel constrained in any way by anything I have said! And, to help you along, I would like to inject a thought that MIGHT have come from Joan Rivers: “Ain’t nothing wrong in asking for money, so long as you don’t spend it on yourself!”

Kindly pass this along to likeminded friends and colleagues who give a damn.



In the picture above is the late Nick James with members of the Galileo Thailand team during the visit to the foundation in December 2009 after the successful completion of Charity Trek 2009 to Annapurna.

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