The world’s youngest person to reach both the North Pole and the summit of Everest visits South East London homelessness charity


Mountaineering record-breaker, Bonita Norris, and the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich visited local homelessness charity Emmaus Greenwich on Wednesday 26 September as part of a development programme for formerly homeless people.

Emmaus Greenwich is a charity that provides a home and work for 34 formerly homeless men and women, known as companions, to help them to re-build their lives. To help fund the community, and to give companions meaningful work, Emmaus collects and sells second-hand furniture, clothes and other items in its shops in South East London. Emmaus’s goal is to help homeless people regain their self-respect and help them move on to independent living when they are ready.

Bonita Norris, the world’s youngest person to climb both Mount Everest and to reach the North Pole, delivered an inspiring talk and Q&A session to Emmaus companions, staff, trustees and volunteers. When she made the decision to climb Everest, Bonita had little climbing experience and limited funds to finance the expedition, which cost over £50,000 at the time. Less than two years later, in 2010 and at the age of 22, she had reached the top of the world. Her message about the importance of taking things one step at a time, the power of teamwork, and the beauty of the natural world inspired everyone in the audience.

Also in attendance at the talk was Christine May, the 2018/19 elected Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, who selected Emmaus Greenwich as one of her charities of the year.

Speaking about the motivational talk, Emmaus companion John, said:

“Bonita climbed two peaks – the first being Everest, but the second being the gruelling months she spent trying to find sponsorship to go on the trip. What an inspirational lady and an eye-opening talk.”