Friends and family gathered in a Long Clawson pub to wave off two villagers who are preparing to climb South America’s highest mountain.
Painter and decorater Chris Foster and 69-year-old Ian Beale were given a rousing send-off at the Crown and Plough.
They flew to Argentina at the weekend to meet up with the rest of the team which is taking on the 7,000-metre summit of Mount Aconcagua.
The climb is part of Chris’s quest to ascend to the highest peaks on seven continents, having already completed Mount Elbrus in Russia in June 2014 and Kilimanjaro last summer.
Chris (44) said the pub event gave them a welcome boost ahead of their epic challenge.
He said: “Jo and Chris, the pub owners, put together a raffle with prizes donated from local businesses.
“We had a voucher from Oakham businesses, The Rutland Health and Beauty Clinic and Catchpole Cellars, and a meal for two donated by the pub owners. All proceeds are going to Rainbows Hospice.
“It was a great send-off, being surrounded by friends and family. We had the flag on display which we hope to place on the summit.”
Chris will be away from his family - wife Ruth and daughters Polly and Alice - for a month. He knows he faces a real ordeal on Aconcagua, which is known for high winds and very low temperatures and which has defeated many climbing parties.
If South America’s tallest mountain is conquered Chris will set his sights on Mount Vinson (Antarctica), Carstentsz Pyramid (Ocenania), Denali (North America) and Everest (Asia).
A company called Battle Oats, which makes high protein bars from natural ingredients, is sponsoring this latest climb to help fund it.