Sir Chris Bonnington and ‘Ascent’ at Henley Literary Festival

Wow what an inspirational and motivational speak Chris Bonnington is and interviewed very well by Catherine Grainger a star in her own right, at the Henley Literary Festival to launch his new book ‘Ascent’ – a life spent climbing on the edge..

I was fortunate enough to have a good 15 minute conversation with Sir Chris prior to the talk and Hubert managed to get a good photo.


The event was a sell-out, 300 tickets and I think he was pleasantly surprised as was his wife, Loreto.

This year sponsoring the talk it was in support of The Friends of the Royal Marsden Chelsea where I volunteer, giving back to the place that saved my life.

The hour yesterday went so fast, I think everyone could have listened to Sir Chris all day.  He was so open, honest and full of hard-won wisdom about his life.    It wasn’t an easy life by any means but he was all for adventure, from an early age and told the stories so fondly as if it was only yesterday.   From heading out on Hampstead Heath aged 6 with a girl next door to a school escapade with a few friends resulting sleeping in a tree.    His passion for climbing was so evident and he followed his heart rather than being a margarine salesmen.  He also had amazing support from his mother and Nan and then his late wife, Wendy and family.  And now after heartache of loss, he has found a new love in Loreto and now after his last expedition at 80 years old he announced his next two are on the ocean aboard a cruise ship.

What I took away from his talk was ‘Do not live in the past, live in the moment and look to the future’ – such wise words.

I have sponsored Henley Literary Festival for over 11 years now and have seen it grow and can’t thank Harriet, Tom, Sue and John Ryan for their vision.

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