This article first appeared in Cambridge News in August 2017.

This man has battled 17 of the world's highest mountains including Everest - and the reason why is really moving

Ricky Munday has spent the last decade climbing some of the highest mountains across the globe

When Ricky Munday's uncles passed away, he climbed a mountain to honour their memory and raise money for charity. Then he climbed another, and another, and another.

And then he decided to climb the highest peak on earth: Mount Everest.

The 40-year-old's twin uncles - Patrick and Michael McGowan - were both taken by cancer. The family lost Michael in 1998 at the age of 58, and then Patrick in 2008 at the age of 69.

Although their deaths were tragic, Ricky and his family say Patrick's final months were eased by the "incredible" support of Macmillan nurses.

"They allowed Patrick to pass with dignity close to his family. The support Macmillan provides to cancer patients and their families is an inspiration," said Ricky.

The Swavesey man has spent the last decade organising and completing 16 expeditions over six continents to some of the world's most formidable peaks to raise money for Macmillan and other charities.

Ricky, who works for the British Antarctic Survey, has scaled four of the Seven Summits (the highest mountains of each continent) - Aconcagua in South America, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, and Carstensz Pyramid in Australia - and attempted Denali in North America.

And if that wasn't enough, he's also reached the summit of Mont Blanc, Mount Kenya and the Matterhorn.

His most recent feat was Everest, the highest mountain in the world at 8,848m (29,029 ft) above sea level.

The climb was unguided, although Ricky and his team were accompanied by some Sherpas who carried some of the group gear.

After setting off in April, the team of 10 climbers reached an altitude of 7,900m on May 22, but Ricky had to turn back before reaching the 8,848m summit.

Ricky said: "The weather was really challenging. I was pretty strong until about 7,000m, but when we got close to 7,900m I really struggled.

I couldn't eat so I wasn't able to recover energy and I had to have double the amount of oxygen."

The decision to descend turned out to be the right one.

He said:

There was a big storm after I descended and two of our tents got blown away. The team decided to descend once the wind had died down a bit. On the way down, one of the team got lost in heavy snow and took several hours to find. He got permanent lung damage and could have nerve damage in his fingers from the frostbite

said Ricky.

Despite the challenging conditions, five members of the expedition eventually reached the summit. Among the five was Ian Toothill, who became the first person with terminal cancer to reach the top of Everest.

Ricky is still proud of what he achieved even though he couldn't join his friends on the summit.

He said: "It was absolutely incredible in terms of the things I saw.

"I definitely want to go back to Everest and finish it off because it feels like unfinished business for me. But I think I would take a personal Sherpa next time.

You learn so much about yourself on the mountain. I was able to inspire people while I was there and now I have got a few talks lined up at schools and other places.

"Just being able to inspire people is the best thing for. I feel very privileged."

You can watch Ricky's 2017 video below