It was a memorable night despite those IT Glitches early on so I’ll address those first as lets be honest is was both embarrassing & frustrating in equal measure. My apologies on behalf of all those involved with both the inadequate volume on the CAN video hotly followed by the ‘loss’ of Tut’s slides (not Tut’s fault I hasten to add) led to the lights going back on & a significant delay. The patience the audience gave as Marion, Denise, John, Doug & Tut frantically tried to work things out was really appreciated so thank you very much for this. The biggest thanks must go to Steve Hobden a friend of the cafe who was in the audience & speeded up the up-loading of the correct programme significantly, thank you Steve!
What I can say is that Doug, Tut & Denise were far from happy about the whole situation, over breakfast at our place the following morning plans for their next matinee presentation at Brecon later the same day detailed discussions led to revised plans being put into place to ensure there was no repeat of the problems of the night before.
As to the content of the presentations themselves we had earlier been given an in depth insight into CAN’s excellent work in Nepal to help restore communities in remote areas which had been literally devastated in the 2015 quake. It highlighted to me that the reason we are lucky enough to have luminaries (which Doug & Tut certainly are) giving presentations in our Johnny come lately Cafe is simply our & our friends desire to help CAN help the people in Nepal. My reading of the audiences patience is that they saw an IT Glitch (or two) in the context of this wider picture.
Once the Glitches were past Tut began ‘The Hard Road to Everest’ with an insight into his getting into climbing & natural progression onto harder routes in the Alps & beyond, his empathy & appreciation of many climbing partners who helped him along this journey was deep felt & touching to see & hear. Their had been no Everest plan, simply with experience & reputation gained the ‘Everest’ phone rang, he & Nick Estcourt broke the rock barrier & more & 1975 entered Britain’s Everest history books for good.
There followed a shortened break before Doug began an auction of his signed photographic prints, this went really well & raised a further £2,100 for CAN. To all those who took part in the bidding thank you on behalf of CAN, Doug was delighted with the interest you showed & depth you dug into your pockets.
We moved on the the second half of the presentation, this time it was Doug’s turn to portray his own journey on the road to Everest. Times were different back then it wasn’t just a matter of kit not being what it is today (a slightly curved Chouinard single axe being a notable case in point) the logistics, scrimping, making it up as you go along tenacity made these men what they were. Doug freely admitted the fortune that shone on him as a result of Tut & Nick’s fortitude allowing him & Dougal to (along with Chris as expedition leader) receive the bulk of the accolades, but as they all knew it had been a team game executed immaculately until a post summit day storm put pay to Tut’s & others own summit hopes as well as leading to the death of one of their friends, Mick Burke, success & tragedy sum up the expedition.
After the main event the audience again showed their patience allowing John to sum up & me to present a cheque on behalf of Reach Out for Nepal 2018 to Doug for £8,000. Marion recorded it on camera & sent me over the photo’s the next day with a covering ‘Doug looks very emotional’. As I looked at these, particularly the first one with Doug & my arms around each other, my thoughts were ‘yes Marion your right but I’ve seen photo’s of me before too & in this one I can see the emotion in me too’.
There are many thank you’s to all who made everything linked to Saturday happen but I’ll single out the guy who set us out on the road that led us to Doug & CAN, Leo Holding at the 2015 Keswick Mountain Festival just one month after the quake hit. Kean (first), take that as the best apology you’ll get mate, followed by John have informed me that Leo is giving a presentation at Caernarfon in March next year, John stop reading & reserve the tickets please!
Denise, we felt the pressure you bore early on Saturday, but lets be clear the wider picture is what matters & it is now in it’s rightful context of a lesson learned for Brecon & nothing more than that. A small CAN team do so much good, we applaud you all!