Richard Walker, Everest 2023

Source: Iceland Foods

Walker has been training for the climb for several months

Iceland Foods executive chairman Richard Walker has successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest, raising £500,000 in support of people living with Alzheimer’s in the process.

The expedition, which Walker announced in February, is in aid of the National Brain Appeal’s plans to build a Rare Dementia Support Centre in London. He undertook the climb in memory of his late mother Lady Walker, and aims to raise £1m in total.

“After an exhilarating and challenging journey we have reached the summit of Mount Everest,” Walker announced on his social media channels on Wednesday, adding that his appeal had now raised over £500,000.

“Thank you so much to all who have supported and donated,” he said. “I’m over the moon (and exhausted).” 

Walker, who is also the chair of Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, has been a public advocate for greater awareness of dementia.

He has spoken publicly about his family’s experience following his mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis over a decade ago, calling for families to be given greater support. Iceland Food’s Charitable Foundation has raised over £17m in support of dementia care.

“I know first-hand from my mum’s diagnosis how important this will be to so many people living with dementia and their families. This was what kept me going with every step on my journey,” Walker said.

The 42-year-old has been training for the climb for the past few months, and was accompanied by experienced British mountaineer Kenton Cool, who has now climbed the mountain 17 times. 

It is not Walker’s first experience climbing Everest. In a separate expedition in 2011, he reached the mountain’s North Col, alongside his father, Iceland founder Malcolm Walker. 

“I couldn’t be prouder of Richard for completing this truly awesome feat of mountaineering skill and sheer physical endurance,” Malcolm Walker said. “I know exactly what it takes because Richard and I both reached the 23,000 ft North Col on the Iceland Everest Expedition of 2011, which raised more than £1m for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“I’d reached my physical limit and Richard nobly turned back with me – but the ambition to go on and reach the summit has been nagging him ever since, and I am absolutely delighted that he has finally reached his goal.”

Iceland store staff have also helped raise money for the cause through a series of events, including bake sales, charity skydives and hikes equivalent to the distance travelled up Everest.

Richard Walker said: “I am also so appreciative of my colleagues in store who are helping me reach our £1m target, they are all so inspiring and I can’t wait to get back home and see what fundraising activities they will still be getting up to over the next couple of months.”