AN intrepid dad has marked the first anniversary of an extraordinary mountaineering feat by embarking on a new challenge – as a volunteer supporting the elderly during the coronavirus crisis.

A year ago, Steve Graham, of Darlington, was completing his lifetime's ambition to climb the highest mountains on seven continents, including Everest.

Now, he is volunteering for Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington, co-ordinating daily deliveries of food parcels to vulnerable people.

Steve has temporarily swapped his nickname from “Seven Summit Steve” to “Seven Shopping Bags Steve” as he helps front an appeal by the charity for more volunteers.

“There are plenty of organisations needing support and I just want to do what I can to encourage people to help in the community,” said Steve, a self-employed heating and plumbing engineer.

He completed his seven summits challenge on March 29 last year by reaching the peak of the 16,000-feet high Cartenz Pyramid in Papua, raising thousands of pounds for charity through his expeditions.

Helen Hunter, chief executive officer of Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington, said: “We have a really good band of volunteers doing invaluable work as part of a collaborative effort with other organisations.

“But we’ll always need more volunteers and we’re really grateful for Steve’s help. He’s so enthusiastic and he managed to climb Everest so I’m sure he can find his way around Darlington!”

As well as making the food deliveries, Age UK is also providing a telephone “befriending” service, with volunteers calling elderly people to check if they are OK.

Steve started off making deliveries himself in his work van but has since been used to co-ordinate the distribution of lifeline meals.

He was inspired to get involved after seeing the plight of a 96-year-old neighbour who had walked to the local Co-op to buy some milk, and then had to catch a bus to Cockerton because the store had sold out.

“We will all know someone who needs help and we can all play our part,” said the father-of-two.

When the pandemic is over, Steve plans to launch a charitable foundation to help people achieve their goals and enjoy the great outdoors. It will be called “The Triple S Foundation” – taken from his mountaineering nickname.

• To support Age UK, speak to Head of Volunteering, Lynn Walton, on 01325-362832.