Proud son puts dad up for top award

Tony Hodson at the summit of Mount Aconcagua.
Tony Hodson at the summit of Mount Aconcagua.
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A PONTELAND man who scaled a massive mountain for charity has received a welcome surprise from his proud son.

Joshua Hodson, 15, felt his dad Tony’s effort to successfully climb the tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, and bring in more than £15,000 for Help for Heroes deserved a nomination for JustGiving’s Fund-raiser of the Year award.

And the 52-year-old only found out about it when he was told he had made the final shortlist for the accolade, which recognises the achievements of people who use the fund-raising website.

“I was delighted to make the final shortlist of six,” he said.

“I didn’t know anything about it. JustGiving told Joshua I was on the shortlist so when he came up to me and said ‘Dad, I’ve got something to tell you,’ my mind briefly went all over the place.

“When I saw the big smile on his face I was relieved and thought it must be good news, but I was shocked to find out that I was in the running for a national award.

“It was nice to be recognised, but that’s not what you do these things for. The single most important thing was the fantastic total raised for such a worthwhile cause.”

Mr Hodson, a business consultant, travelled to South America in January last year and after days of climbing, including two-and-a-half hours on the tough final section which has prevented many people from getting to the top, he reached the 6,962m high summit

The Darras Hall resident was inspired to raise funds for Help For Heroes by Major Phil Packer, a former Army officer who completed the London Marathon and other tough physical challenges despite losing the use of his legs after being injured in a rocket attack in Iraq.

He praised friends, family members, local schools and organisations such as Ponteland Lions Club, Ponteland Methodist Church and Ponteland Boys and Girls Brigade for their contributions to the total.

DVDs and more information about the climb are available at www.tonyhodson.co.uk