AN ENTREPRENEUR will take part in the highest game of rugby ever played on Mount Everest.

Mark Ackred, from Burford, is set to take on the Wooden Spoon Everest Rugby Challenge, a Guinness World Record attempt to play a game of rugby at 6,500m altitude in April 2019.

The ex-banker’s inspiration for taking on the challenge comes in the memory of nephew Toti Worboys, who passed away in July 2014 aged 11 having suffered Ollier disease.

As a tenacious fundraiser for research into childhood leukaemia, Mr Ackred has twice canoed the 346km length of the River Thames.

But the rugby challenge lies particularly close to his heart given Toti was an avid fan, regularly going to watch Bath, for whom his brother George plays as a fly-half.

Mr Ackred said: “I’ve taken on a number of challenges in Toti’s memory but I think this is the one that would really have put a smile on his face.

“I carry him with me whenever we take these things on and it’s really about raising awareness of childhood leukaemia and also helping kids in a similar position to his.

“The group are under no illusions as to how hard this is going to be. We’re going to do some chamber testing soon to put us in the right conditions. Two hours into our first practice climb I was wondering whether I’d made the right decision.

“It’s going to be an amazing thing to take on and the group are already bonding really well.”

The touch and full contact matches aim to raise £200,000 and bid to break the record set by the Steve Prescott Foundation at 5,752 metres up Kilimanjaro in 2015.

Each of the 30 challengers have been set a funding target of £10,000, to be used by Wooden Spoon to help young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage in the UK and Ireland.

Teams will be led by stars such as Wales’ top try-scorer Shane Williams, World Cup winner Andy Gomarsall and England Women legend Tamara Taylor.

Taylor, England’s second-most capped international with 115 appearances, has already led a weekend of intense altitude training in the Lake District.

The 36-year-old admitted to a degree of trepidation over the challenge but pointed to an already-strong spirit in the group.

She said: “I’m really excited to be involved and honoured to have the role of captain.”

“It’s a unique group and in the Lake District we’ve already bonded. We have people from all walks of life coming together to raise money for an amazing charity in Wooden Spoon.

“It’s scary when you see the equipment we’ll need to survive in minus 20 degrees and some of the symptoms of altitude sickness.

“We’re all going to pull together. The strongest in the pack will pull the weakest along and help each other out. I can’t wait.”

Support the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge to help change the lives of children and young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland at