Source: Iceland

Richard Walker

Iceland Food executive chairman Richard Walker plans to climb Mount Everest to raise £1m to support people living with dementia.

Walker, who is also the chair of the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, is undertaking the climb in memory of his mother, who died in 2021 after being diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset dementia. 

The expedition is in aid of the National Brain Appeal to build a Rare Dementia Support Centre in London. Iceland store staff are also set to participate in the fundraising activities in stores nationwide.

“Over half of us are connected to someone living with dementia, and my mum, the late Lady Walker, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over a decade ago,” said Walker. “I am grateful to take on this immense challenge in honour of her legacy, for our family and the business.

“I can only thank my Iceland Foods colleagues for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me and helping me raise critical funds and awareness to help prevent this disease from impacting so many.”

An expedition to Everest’s peak, which is 8,850 metres high, typically takes about 63 days to complete, but Walker is aiming to do it in around three weeks, “by travelling light” and reducing the number of ascents and descents usually needed to acclimatise. He will be guided by experienced British mountaineer Kenton Cool.

It will not be Walker’s first experience of Everest, having previously completed a partial ascent. The 42-year-old climbed Everest’s North Col in 2011, an expedition also in aid of dementia support.

The timing of the latest expedition will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation by Iceland co-founder Malcolm Walker, Richard Walker’s father.

Kenton Coo

The foundation has raised over £17m towards improving dementia care in addition to donations focused on the environment and children’s health.