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Theakston’s taken to new heights

A former Nosterfield publican is to undertake an unusual challenge for charity next month (October) by trekking to the base camp of Mount Everest with a traditional wooden beer cask strapped to his back.

37-year-old Kris Stephenson, who used to run the Freemasons Arms in Nosterfield village – will carry a four-and-a-half gallon wooden pin – handcrafted by Theakston’s cooper Jonathan Manby – to the waypoint of the Nepalese mountain raising money for Help For Heroes.

Kris, who is hoping to raise £10,000 for the military charity, will leave from Kathmandu on October 4 to begin the trek that will take him three weeks to complete.

Kris said: I’m raising money for Help for Heroes because it is a brilliant charity and I’ve got a lot of friends who are and have been in the armed forces.

The biggest challenge is going to be working with a heavy pack at altitude. I’m very aware that regardless of how mentally and physically prepared I am, altitude sickness can hit at any time and the only option is to descend.

I’m very much looking forward to this challenge and hope to celebrate reaching base camp with a few bottles of Theakston’s Ale.”
Kris has been preparing for the tough task with 25 mile walks with the cask in the Lake District and Cheviot Hills, with him also taking part in a 27 mile charity cycle ride last month, again with the barrel strapped to his back.

T&R Theakston Ltd Executive Director Simon Theakston said: “This challenge is certainly no easy feat – even when empty, the cask weighs some 36 kilograms.

Having been involved in an annual charity bike ride organised by Kris for the best part of a decade, I know what a dedicated individual he is and just how passionate he is about raising funds for good causes.

We were more than happy to provide Kris with one of our pins – to the best of our knowledge it will be the highest a cask from the Theakston’s cooperage will have ever been – and we will be more than happy to provide him with a full one on his return.

Those wishing to support Kris in this challenge can donate funds in person at The Millbank Arms, Well, or The Green Dragon, Bedale. Alternatively, they can donate online at

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