Ben Fogle Reaches Top Of Mount Everest In Memory Of Stillborn Son

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Ben Fogle on Mount EverestBen Fogle/Twitter

Television presenter Ben Fogle has achieved a ‘lifelong dream’ of climbing to the top of Mount Everest in memory of his stillborn son.

The 44-year-old presenter, best known for Countryfile, Animal Park and Cash In The Attic, took on the challenge along with Olympic cyclist, Victoria Pembleton.

Raising money for the British Red Cross, a documentary about Ben and Victoria’s journey will be broadcast on CNN at the end of this May, 2018.

His progress has been followed closely in the UK:

Ben announced he’d reached the top of world’s highest mountain above sea level on Instagram yesterday, (May 17).

Sharing a photo of himself looking ecstatic with his arms up in the air, Ben wrote:

At 7.30am on May 16, after more than five weeks of acclimatising and training on Mount Everest, I finally realised a childhood dream when I successfully summited the 8848m mountain.

After several days being battered by storms at Camp Four (South Col) we set off for the summit in near perfect weather.

While the eight days it has taken us to reach the summit have not been without incident, reaching the top of the world will remain a highlight of my life. And I felt honoured to summit with Kenton Cool and Fisher Creative.

The real heroes of Everest are not the climbers but the Sherpas. Particular thanks must go to Kam Dorjee Sherpa, Ming Dorjee Sherpa and Ang Thindu Sherpa. They are not in the photo for an astonishing reason that will become apparent in the coming days.

Thank you for all your support. I am over the moon with happiness. This has been the greatest adventure.

Unfortunately, his climbing partner, Victoria, was forced to abandon the trek earlier this month on medical grounds.

Ben dedicated the achievement to his son Willem who was delivered stillborn at 32-weeks-old in 2014, leaving the presenter and his wife Marina heartbroken.

In an emotional post on Instagram, Ben wrote:

There is one person in particular for whom this journey is dedicated. A little boy called Willem Fogle.

He was my little son. Stillborn at eight months. A little boy I never got to know. A little life that never got to live. A breath that was never exhaled.

His loss changed our lives and I think about him daily. Losing my little boy made me re-evaluate life.

Not only do we hold our two beautiful children closer to us but it was a reminder to live life for the now. Don’t waste it.

Cradling little Willem to say goodbye, I made a promise to him to live my life brightly. To embrace everyday. To always smile. To be positive and to inspire.

We think you’ve achieved that Ben!

I gave an assembly to my children’s school today via satellite phone. Nothing has given me as much pleasure so far on this trip than inspiring and exciting 300 young children, particularly my two beautiful children Ludo and Iona. It gives me so much happiness to share this journey with so many others. I don’t feel alone here. Never. There is a spirituality but I can also feel the support and the love here on Instagram. There have been so many lovely messages. I am sorry that I haven’t been able to reply to you all but I promise you I read your messages and once this adventure is over I will endeavour to reply to you all. There is one person in particular for whom this journey is dedicated. A little boy called Willem Fogle. He was my little son. Stillborn at 8 months. A little boy I never got to know. A little life that never got to live. A breath that was never exhaled. His loss changed our lives and I think about him daily. Losing my little boy made me reevaluate life. Not only do we hold our two beautiful children closer to us but it was a reminder to live life for the now. Don’t waste it. Cradling little Willem to say goodbye, I made a promise to him to live my life brightly. To embrace everyday. To always smile. To be positive and to inspire. In some ways I am now living my life for two. Willem is always there. I think he is my guardian angel here. There is one particular star that shines brighter. It draws my attention. It reflects off the snow and ice. I feel so lucky. I will never take life for granted but above all I’ll never be alone #everest2018

A post shared by Ben Fogle (@benfogle) on

Starting their journey in April, Ben and his team’s trip was nearly thrown into jeopardy as they negotiated the ‘death zone’ over the past few days.

Reaching their final stop, the descent will take six days.

Congratulations to Ben and the team!

The Challenge: Everest – Part One will air on June 30 on CNN.

If you have been affected by the death of a baby you can call Sands’ (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) helpline on 0808 164 3332.