A climber from South Tyneside is aiming to fly the flag for the borough’s businesses – on top of one of the seven highest mountains in the world.
Steve Berry and climbing partner Ray Smith scaled Russia’s Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak, last week.
The feat means he has now scaled the six highest mountains on six separate continents, with just one left to make it a magnificent seven.
They battled through 70km-an-hour winds and temperatures as low as -26C to reach the top of the 5,642m-high mountain.
But he faces a hefty bill to pay for his trip to Mount Vinson in Antarctica, and Steve is offering a unique sponsorship opportunity for firms keen on blue-sky thinking.
He is offering to plant a flag on top of the mountain bearing the names of local businesses.
The 58-year-old, now back home at Central Avenue in South Shields, needs to find almost £16,000 to fund the challenge.
Mr Berry said: “It looks like my final climb will have to be put on hold for now.
“I need to figure out how I’m going to fund the Mount Vinson expedition.
“At the moment, I can go at a cost of 20,000 euros. That is a big chunk of money to find.
“Maybe if I start writing to a number of local businesses asking for sponsorship, I might get lucky. I’ll fly their flag on the top of Vinson in return for some sponsorship.
“It looks like Ray won’t be joining me on this one one due to the cost, but I’m determined to complete the seven.”
While the final step in his incredible mountain mission is facing a hold-up, there’s no chance of globetrotter Steve packing away his passport.
He added: “At least I’ve got a few paid expeditions to look forward to.
“I’m off to Nicaragua later this month, then I could be heading back to lead a group to Kilimanjaro in August, then I’m off to Botswana and Zambia later this year.”
Mr Berry will be in select company when he finally makes it on top of the world in Antarctica as only three British climbers have previously scaled all seven peaks.
Mr Berry has now conquered Mount Everest in the Himalayas, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Argentina’s Aconcagua, Mount Denali in Alaska and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, as well as Elbrus.
Firms willing to sponsor Steve’s mountain mission can e-mail him at email@example.com