Entertainment

Boy, six, climbs 12 UK mountains ‘to help poorly children go on holiday’

Oscar Burrow has summited 12 of the highest mountains in the UK over the course of nine months.
Oscar Burrow has summited 12 of the highest mountains in the UK over the course of nine months. Oscar Burrow has summited 12 of the highest mountains in the UK over the course of nine months.

A six-year-old boy who went viral for attempting to climb 12 of the highest mountains in the UK to help “poorly children to go on holiday” has completed his final hike.

Oscar Burrow, from Lancaster, reached the top of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, on Monday afternoon after around four-and-a-half hours, being welcomed by a “bit of snow” at the summit.

Over the course of nine months, Oscar has climbed mountains including Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, and Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, and raised more than £34,000 so that “poorly children” can spend time at lodges at Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley.

Group of people on op of a mountain
Group of people on op of a mountain Oscar Burrow, wearing a red backpack, at the summit of Ben Nevis, surrounded by family members and friends (Matt Burrow/PA)

Speaking to the PA news agency after the successful summit, Oscar’s father Matt Burrow said: “We tied some balloons to them (Oscar and his friend Ollie Perkins, seven) and because they were so high up, people were commenting, ‘We’ve been watching your balloons work their way up the mountain and following them’.”

The 38-year-old, a project manager in the NHS, added: “One woman who passed said that once she could see those balloons, they just kept her going and her husband was further ahead, but it inspired her to reach the top.”

Two boys with balloons on them, looking into the sky
Two boys with balloons on them, looking into the sky Oscar Burrow, left, and Ollie Perkins (Matt Burrow/PA)

Mr Burrow said that it was “particularly challenging” getting back down because it was very steep, which prompted Oscar to say: “This is the worst climb I’ve done so far.”

However, both Oscar and Ollie found enjoyment playing in the snow at the summit and sliding in it.

“Oscar also found his favourite stick in the snow at the top of Ben Nevis, so we’ve got this stick with us, which we will take home, and they had a nice barbecue at the bottom,” Mr Burrow added.

“They loved it.”

Oscar has also collected souvenirs from previous climbs.

“He found a stone in the shape of a piece of cheese on one hike and that went straight into his bag,” Mr Burrow said.

Six-year-old hiker receives a donation
Six-year-old hiker receives a donation Oscar Burrow with his father Matt Burrow, left, and his grandfather Mark Burrow (Matt Burrow/PA)

Some of Oscar’s favourite moments from the challenge include taking on Glyder Fawr in Snowdonia, because “it was really steep and you have to climb up sections with your hands”, and making a giant snowball “bigger than me” when hiking up Cairn Gorm in Scotland.

The mountaineering pursuit was inspired by Oscar’s aim to become the “youngest person to climb Mount Everest”, with Mr Burrow instead coming up with the idea for Oscar to take on 12 mountains at the combined height of Mount Everest, to satisfy his son’s ambition.

May 29 was specifically chosen as the final date for the adventure, as it marks the 70th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

Mr Burrow said that one lady decided to pay homage to that aim through a “lovely” gesture.

Three children wearing green t-shirts and smiling at the camera
Three children wearing green t-shirts and smiling at the camera Ollie Perkins, left, Oscar Burrow and Oscar’s sister, Ada Burrow, with their rosettes (Matt Burrow/PA)

“A lady sent Oscar a lovely letter and made some handmade rosettes that say Mount Everest and Derian House on them and we presented them to Oscar and Ollie at the top of Ben Nevis.

“Oscar read out the letter, which explained how proud she was and how grateful she was that she was able to do something for them – and so that was a very nice moment.”

When speaking to PA before the hike, Oscar said “I want to make a fire using rocks” while camping as part of the trip.

“They kind of made a fire,” Mr Burrow said.

“They collected a whole load of kindling and Paul (Ollie’s dad) had a fire pit, so they put it all in, lit it and then melted marshmallows and put them between biscuits to make s’mores.

“They really enjoyed that.”

Group standing together on grass
Group standing together on grass Oscar Burrow, wearing a hat, next to his friend Ollie Perkins, wearing a cap, with family members and friends (Matt Burrow/PA)

Mr Burrow said that the “community element” of the climb was something the group all enjoyed.

“We’ve not had that community element on any of them because we’ve done them in such bad weather, whereas when we did Ben Nevis, the weather was gorgeous, so everybody was out walking.

“They got a whole load of donations into their little money containers, which is fantastic.

“It is amazing to see how many people have supported Oscar throughout the journey.

“One guy called Malcolm Stewart who has been following the challenge joined us on the Ben Nevis hike and gave Oscar a really nice compass and binoculars and a little bear that was similar to the bears that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay took to the top when they summited Everest.”

Mr Burrow added that the whole family are “immensely proud” of Oscar.

Oscar Burrow’s final hike
Oscar Burrow’s final hike Matt Burrow and Oscar Burrow (Matt Burrow/PA)

“He’s taken his idea, stepped into the unknown in terms of what that would mean, stuck with it when it’s not gone well and shown masses of maturity and resilience.

“He’s completed it and enjoyed it and wants to carry on doing fundraising challenges.

“He told me he next wants to do the National Three Peaks.”

Oscar’s JustGiving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oscar-burrow1?fbclid=IwAR2XJQg2J2-8zvOyc5XN5hKkenlpZ-G7tbiswedRgxZv3-OKuCFdCGFv4pA

Oscar’s journey can be followed via his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100088803157394