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Royal Holloway graduate on top of the world

Posted on 17/05/2010

Bonita Norris sets new record

Bonita Norris has become Britain’s youngest woman to climb Mount Everest after reaching the summit of the world’s tallest mountain today (17 May) at the age of 22.

Bonita, who graduated in 2009 with a Media Arts degree at Royal Holloway, University of London, decided to take on the mammoth challenge eighteen months ago and set off on the journey on April 3.

Her biggest supporter has been her father, who Bonita says has backed her from day one. To show her gratitude Bonita made a very special phone call to him from the mountain’s summit to break the good news to the family and to thank him.

Her mother, Jacqui Andrews, has since spoken to her daughter and is very relieved to hear she has made it to the top, she said: "We are all absolutely ecstatic. The weather had been quite bad and it has been quite a treacherous journey so I was very pleased to hear she had reached the summit safely. It's all very emotional and hasn't properly sunk in. I've been walking around feeling like I've just won the lottery."

Before Bonita left she was tasked with raising a total of £40,000 sponsorship to secure her spot on the Everest Expedition and she secured money through funding from Royal Holloway’s Annual Fund and from a company called Mobile Phone Top Up at ATM, which allows people to use their debit cards to buy credit for their mobile phones at ATMs.

After weeks of training and fundraising efforts to raise a further £50,000 for her chosen charity, Global Angels, which helps children in some of the most poverty-stricken areas of the world. Two of the projects that will benefit from her efforts are White Lodge disability centre in Chertsey, and the Child Voice International Village in Northern Uganda.

In 2009, Bonita became the youngest person ever to climb Nepal’s Mount Manaslu – the world′s eighth highest mountain at 8,156 metres, but understandably she still had anxieties about the 8,850 metre peak of Everest.
Before she left she said: “As far as I’m concerned, my life will be in the balance until the moment I’m back in Kathmandu. There is an overwhelming sense of your own mortality, but it is something you have to control because losing your nerve could easily be a death sentence.”

Prior to Bonita’s achievement the record was held by another Royal Holloway graduate, Tori James who reached the summit in 2007 at the age of 25.


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