Having completed some acclimatisation walks in the foothills of Annapurna, a massif in the Himalayas, long-term supporter of the COINS Foundation, Mark Starling has now arrived in Lhasa, Tibet and is making preparations for the 5 day drive to Everest base camp. He’s about to take on the highest mountain in the world, but before Mark left, we asked him why he’s looking to conquer one of the greatest achievements in mountaineering and how it fits in to the bigger picture.

Mark explains:

My connection with the COINS Foundation started with Kier’s regular participation in the COINS 3 Peaks Construction Industry Challenges. The challenges were well attended by the Construction Industry who raised over £2.5m to support COINS Foundation projects. Interestingly, having been positively influenced by COINS’ values, Kier subsequently started their own Foundation in 2011.

I am an extreme challenge enthusiast and I have been completing some of the world's toughest endurance races. Everest has been an ambition from childhood. I wanted to put own my personal desire and determination to complete extreme expeditions to some greater use and to leverage my drive for adventure to do the very best I can for those who are less fortunate than many of us.

Mark Starling

Mark is also showing his support for our iconic Routemaster Cookie Bar Bus, an extension of our existing social enterprise The Cookie Bar. As well as providing a safe environment for students with disabilities to gain valuable work experience, The Cookie Bar provides a continuous flow of financial resources by reinvesting 100% of their profits to COINS Foundation projects. Mark is aiming to secure regular placements for The Cookie Bar Bus on construction sites.

As he sets out to Everest Mark reflected:

If we can create greater awareness through my climb to raise sufficient funds to provide another five Ugandan schools with solar panels, that will be a great achievement.

Mark Starling

We wish Mark the best of luck in his Everest climb, if you’d like to find out more you can see full details on his fundraising page.