Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service welcomed a very special visitor to its headquarters, when a Sherpa from Nepal dropped in.
Dawa Geljen was visiting a team of 17 Fire cadets and eight leaders going out to Nepal in October 2017, where they plan to build much needed classrooms for village children.
During his visit Dawa was introduced to the group and spoke about his experiences as a Sherpa and also what they should expect to face when they embark on a four and a half day trek to get to the village of Kangel which is in the Solukhumbu District in the Sagarmatha Zone of North-Eastern Nepal.
Parents also got the chance to ask him questions about Nepal and the chosen school, and they heard how the children currently struggle to learn in cramped conditions.
47-year-old Dawa is a qualified mountaineering guide and trustee of Classrooms in the Clouds a registered National Government Organisation working to build classrooms for village children. The expedition has been arranged through this organisation and Dawa will be leading the team.
He is a sixth generation Sherpa who has been leading treks and expeditions in Nepal for over 26 years and has many successful ascents of large Himalayan peaks to his name, including getting within 50m off the top of Everest, before turning back to ensure the safety of his client.
Currently there is a building in the village which is being used as a school, but it's not a nice environment for the children to be in let alone learn in and is very cramped. The intention is to raise over £70,000 to build six new classrooms on the side of the existing building.
Following the earthquakes in 2015 which killed over 8,000 people, injured more that 21,000 people and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, the need for this help is even more important and will give children for generations to come the opportunity of an education.
Dawa said: "It's a great honour for me to come to the UK and meet the team in person. It's the second time that Classrooms in the Clouds has worked with Cheshire Fire Cadets and they are working really hard to raise money for a country and people that they don't know. They will hopefully leave Nepal with a better understanding of different cultures and, most importantly, they will leave knowing that they have made a real difference to many young lives in Nepal, both now and in the future.
"These Cheshire Fire Cadets are a fine example of their generation and their parents and leaders should be very proud of their commitment and dedication to the project."
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Youth and Community Cohesion Manager Nick Evans will be accompanying the cadets on the trip. He said: "It's been great for the cadets to meet Dawa and hear about his experiences. His visit has made the trip real and we remain determined to raise over £70,000 to enable us to renovate these classrooms for the students.
"The money will be used for flights and to buy all materials to build the six new classrooms and finish them to a good standard. The children need a better and safer place in which to learn and we can help with that. Dawa's visit has been a great boost for us all."
The six new classrooms will be finished off by the group from Cheshire when they arrive in Nepal in October 2017, after local trade's people have built the rooms. Cadets will also get to attend the official opening before they head back to the UK.
This is the second time that Dawa has visited Cheshire Fire Cadets, the previous time was in 2014 when he had a tour of the facilities and got the ride in a training fire engine and wear fire kit.
For more information or to donate to the trip please visit the cadet section of the website www.cheshirefire.gov.uk.
Alternatively you can phone the Youth Engagement Department on 01606 868427.
Sir John Talbot Leisure Centre, Whitchurch