AN exuberant dad conquered the snow-capped summit of Mount Kenya after listening to an emotional message from his children.

Winsford dad-of-three Dave Fowles teamed up with his friend Alison Green, whose teenage stepson Josh Halsey, died recently, and five climbers for a charity trek to help sick children.

An unexpected storm delayed their final ascent to the 16,355ft peak of Mount Lenana.

"It was hailing stones and then snow came and more snow," said Dave, 47, who runs Fowles Funeral Services in Winsford.

"When I opened the tent door there was three foot of snow! We lost all communication with the outside world."

Winsford Guardian:

Intrepid Dave Fowles leads the trekkers up snow-capped ridges on Mount Kenya

Five hours later, their professional guide gave them the go-ahead to push for the top but Dave faced his biggest fear.

"Ridge walking is scary for me," said Dave. "The snow was thicker and icier. I could feel my feet going. It was getting smaller and smaller and closer to the edge, my nemesis.

"Although I love mountains these conditions tested me to my limit. 

"Our boots weren't really ideal as there shouldn't have been anywhere near the amount of snow and ince. We had no crampons and on occasions just fixed wire to cling on to for dear life.

"Our guide was absolutely fantastic and put a harness around my waist but mentally I was tired.

"My children had given me a card and told me to only open it when I felt really sad. They had recorded their three voices on it which really set me off.

"They said: 'We love you dad, keep going, you can do it!'"

Intrepid Dave ploughed on, fuelled by emotional words from his children back home, James, nine, Tom, seven and Charlotte, two.

"They kept me going," said David. "The summit was incredible! The euphoria as I got to the top was amazing."

Winsford Guardian:

Dave Fowles, far right, and the Summit Seekers make it to the top of Mount Kenya in memory of courageous Josh Halsey, 16, who lost his battle with cancer

Just as the team was catching their breath, exhaustion turned to exhilaration as Josh's dad proposed to partner Alison on top of the mountain!

"It was brilliant, so emotional," said Dave. "We all climbed the mountain in Josh's name. For that to be the place where their new life started is lovely.

Winsford Guardian:

Josh's dad Matt Stanley proposed to partner Alison Green on top of Mount Kenya

"They are amazing people. I hope it helps them to heal."

Josh, 16, had an aggressive form of soft tissue cancer but battled with an attitude of bravery well beyond his years.

The team, who call themselves the Summit Seekers, wanted to thank the charities that helped him on his journey.

So far they have raised more than £7,000 for two charities close to Josh, Teenage Cancer Trust and Starlight Children's Foundation plus £500 for St John's Primary School in Winsford, where Dave's children are pupils.

Dave has nothing but praise and admiration for the hard-working team of guides and sherpas who supported their trek.

Climbers were treated to freshly prepared three course meals every day.

"The food they created at 4,000 metres was amazing, " said Dave. "They served fresh fish caught from a lake, turkey and beef casserole. They carried everything with them, they were like mountain goats climbing up and down the mountain.

"We had home made soup to start and then three big bowls with rice, potatoes and meat or fish, followed by freshly picked star fruit or passion fruit."

Keep fit enthusiast Dave loves climbing mountains and has raised more than £40,000 for different charities.

In 2009 he climbed Machu Picchu for CLIC Sargent and scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in 2015 for St Luke's Hospice.

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Last year he travelled to Russia to tackle Mount Elbrus for St Luke's and St John's Primary School, but failed to reach the summit.

Next September he has been invited to join Josh's dad Matt and fiance Alison on their honeymoon climb up Stok Kangri in India.

"I love mountains," said Dave. "The scenery is breathtaking and the silence is incredible. No phones, no noise, no computers, no disruption. It gives you that quiet time to be on your own."

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