Watchmaker meets climbers

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Stamford watchmaker Robert Loomes and his wife Robina Hill have visited Nepal to meet the Gurkhas who wore their watch to climb to the summit of Everest.

Last month, a team of Gurkhas made it to the summit of Mount Everest, wearing entirely English-made watches by Robert Loomes and Co, based in St Mary’s Hill, Stamford.

It is the first time entirely British-made watches have summited since Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzig Norgay in 1953.

Robina and Robert have spent the last four years working with the Royal Gurkha Regiment with the aim of taking these unique watches, which were slightly modified to cope with the cold temperatures and the altitude, to the summit of Everest.

They will be auctioned by the shop in the Autumn to raise funds for the Gurkha Welfare Trust and the Mountain Trust.

The team first tried in 2015 but turned back following the earthquake in Nepal that year, which caused major damage to homes in the same mountain regions the charities already support, providing healthcare and education in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Robina Hill and Robert Loomes flew out to Kathmandu to meet the successful team on their return from Everest.

They hosted a reception for the team, and a couple of their Sherpa guides, and picked up one of the 
watches to bring back to Stamford. One of the watches was still at Everest Base 
Camp.

Lt Chris Boote, of the Royal Gurkha Regiment, said: “It was an honour to summit wearing British-made watches, especially when we knew they would help raise money for Nepal.”

At a reception in the British Ambassador’s Residence Robert and Robina were reunited with Major Dick Gale, the climbing leader, who collected the watches from Stamford Town Hall in 2015. He said: “I carried a Stamford-made watch to the summit; it worked perfectly.”

Robert said the experience of meeting the Gurkhas in Nepal was “amazing”.