Ben Fogle pays tribute to stillborn son after reaching top of Mount Everest

18 May 2018, 08:32

Ben Fogle Mount Everest

By Naomi Berners

Ben dedicated the incredible challenge to Willem Fogle.

TV presenter Ben Fogle, 44, has reached the summit of Mount Everest after a gruelling 5 week climb.

He and his wife endured the heartbreak of a stillborn child in 2014, and after reaching the top of the tallest mountain in the world, he called little Willem his 'guardian angel.'

The adventurer dedicated the climb to his memory, after facing catastrophic storms and technical difficulties along the way, before reaching the 'death zone' - so named due to the high altitude's limited oxygen supply. 

On his Instagram, he 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... Cradling little Willem to say goodbye, I made a promise to him to live my life brightly. To embrace every day. To always smile. To be positive and to inspire." 

Ben began his ascent at the start of April, and, after passing Base Camp, conquered the 8,848 metres (29,029 ft), before taking his 'most important picture' of the toys that his two children, Ludo and Iona, had given him as good luck charms.

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Posting on his Instagram, the star wrote: "I am over the moon with happiness. This has been the greatest adventure."


 

I’ve been thinking a lot about these two today, Ludo and Iona, they are my world. In many ways this expedition is to inspire them. I want them to grow up in a world with no ceilings and no boundaries. They should both be able to pursue their dreams without societal conventions. It makes me so happy that the world is still in their hands. As a father I feel it is my responsibility to show them the world. To share with them the wonders of the wilderness, of Mother Nature. I am so fortunate to be able to travel the world meeting people and exploring the Wild. I hope that my curiosity and wanderlust will help to build well rounded, open minded, curious children. It’s all I ask of them to be curious. One of my hopes with this climb is to inspire others to follow their own dreams and climb their own metaphorical Everest. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of these two. Sometimes it is tainted with guilt at my absence, but more often it is with pride. I love these two more than life itself. My beautiful wife is doing the far harder task of running the family while I am away climbing a snowy hill. I am indebted to Marina for her patience and trust. I’d like to think it pays off with inspiring tales of adventure in faraway lands. I hope you are all having a beautiful weekend with your own families. Hold them tight and remember to tell them how much you love them. Ludo, Iona and Marina, I love you more than you will ever know xxx

A post shared by Ben Fogle (@benfogle) onMay 6, 2018 at 4:13am PDT

The Countryfile presenter was accompanied by Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton, who unfortunately had to forfeit the latter part of the climb due to a severe decline in her oxygen levels.

Ben, who has a taste for adventure, has already rowed across the Atlantic and dragged a sled across the Antarctic.

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