DUDLEY Alderman Steve Waltho is no stranger to charity fundraising but the gutsy former mayor and councillor has told how his recent challenge was one of his toughest ever.

Prostate cancer survivor Steve, a former Labour councillor for St Thomas’s ward in Dudley and a former Mayor of Dudley borough, was attempting to scale 18 peaks in the Lake District to raise money for the prostate cancer fund at New Cross Hospital and the disability charity Access In Dudley, of which he is patron.

The event should have taken place in early March but severe weather conditions, which saw him get his car stuck in snow on the way to the start, meant rescheduling to another date and the weather couldn't have been more opposite.

Steve, who lives in Kingswinford, said: “I drove to the Lakes on June 12 and immediately climbed the first route of three as I had a timeslot of four days to complete the routes. That was my first mistake. The high temperature took its toll and I ended up sunburnt, exhausted and dehydrated, returning to my car very slowly at 10pm.

“On the drive back to my digs I clipped a lay-by kerb and punctured a tyre. In the darkness of Borrowdale by sheer luck a tyre wagon on a call out stopped to help since I had no phone signal.

“My dear wife Jayne was beside herself when I rang at 11.30pm to tell her what had happened and she demanded I take my one rest day the day after to recover and remember that I'm 67 years of age!

“Further drama ensued when I started my car the morning after to find another puncture and I just managed to inflate it sufficiently to get it to a garage.

“The next two days were two of the toughest I've ever encountered and on the final day I had to climb two 2,000ft mountains straight up 60-degree slopes in 30 degrees temperatures.

“My energy just drained and I think I dug as deep as I've ever done as I sat on a rock on Red Screes overlooking the Kirkstone Pass wondering if I could carry on.

“I thought of the tragic loss of former councillor colleague Richard Body last month who I nicknamed ‘Iron Man’ because of his immense resilience on endurance events and found the inspiration to carry on in his memory."

The epic event saw Steve walk more than 40 miles across 19 mountain tops with more than 13,000 feet of ascent, resulting in him losing half a stone in weight in the process.

His latest sponsorship total was near £1,500 and he’d be grateful for additional donations.

Anyone wishing to contribute can do so via his GoFundMe page or message him at stevewaltho@hotmail.co.uk or on 07703 308463.

Dynamic Steve is now looking forward to his next challenge which will be another ascent of Scotland’s Ben Nevis – the highest peak in the UK – which he will be attempting with a team of hikers from Dudley on August 18 as part of a pilgrimage remembering Dudley peace campaigner Bert Bissell.