JCT600 chief executive John Tordoff has set himself the challenge of trekking to Everest base camp after emergency surgery forced him to miss Ben’s charity climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Tordoff told AM that he has “unfinished business” after three years of preparations to be one of 15 automotive leaders to trek to the summit of Africa’s highest peak came to a dramatic end with an emergency trip to hospital last month.
The 59-year-old, who also underwent heart surgery in 2020, told AM that he felt “as fit as ever” just weeks ahead of the Africa trip which took place 10 days ago, but was forced to withdraw on medical grounds after being struck down with crippling abdominal pains.
“I woke up in the middle of the night and I can honestly say I have never been in such pain,” Tordoff told AM. “My wife took me to A&E and I was literally laid on the floor in agony.”
Within hours Tordoff was in surgery, the cause of his agony having been identified as a legacy of appendix surgery some 50 years earlier.
But he was forced to call off his long-awaited participation in the annual Ben Indurty Leader Challenge – already delayed twice since 2020 due to COVID-19 – after liaising with family and the expedition team.
Thankfully, the Tordoff family had a ready stand-in replacement in the form of James Tordoff, part of the AM100 car retail group’s stock acquisition team, who rowed across the Atlantic for charity in 2019 and recently completed the Beast of Ben.
He joined JCT600 director of customer experience Andy Bateman on the trip at short notice as Ben’s bid to raise £300,000 in funds.
And he ensured that his uncle had a presence when the Ben expedition reached its 5,985m high goal.
Tordoff said: “I knew right away that James would be fit enough to take on the challenge and, thankfully, he was able to stand in for me.
“It was radio silence all the time during their time on the mountain but when I finally got a picture, and saw that they had taken a picture of me to the summit, I had to laugh. At least a part of me made it.”
Tordoff has wasted no time in ensuring that three years of walking and climbing to improve his fitness ahead of the Ben Industry Leader Challenge (ILC) does not go to waste.
He has already booked an expedition to Everest base camp, a climb just 200m short of the summit of Kilimanjaro, in April next year.
Ben’s director of partnerships, engagement and income, Matt Wigginton, will join him, along with Kilimanjaro expedition leader Jason Rawles.
“I had to do something. I had unfinished business”, Tordoff told AM.
“Training for the climb has been amazing for me and I felt great before my surgery. After that I lost about a stone as all I could east was yoghurt and soup for a week.
“Now I’ve got the chance to do something else that will raise some more money for Ben and it’s a challenge that gives me something to really get my teeth into.”
Ben is still making its final push to reach a £300,000 fund-raising goal for its latest ILC to the top of Kilimanjaro.
To sponsor the efforts of those who battles heat, freezing temperatures and the effects of altitude to reach the summit, click here.