Former prison officers retrace their steps....

Former Hindley prison officers line up ltr Martyn Taylor, Ernie Yates, Norman Hutchinson, Paul Appleton and Mike Bates.
Former Hindley prison officers line up ltr Martyn Taylor, Ernie Yates, Norman Hutchinson, Paul Appleton and Mike Bates.

A GROUP of Hindley prison officers completed a momentous charity trek to mark a unique 25th anniversary.

Former Hindley Prison officers, Martyn Taylor, Ernie Yates, Norman Hutchinson, Paul Appleton and Mike Bates completed the Mont Blanc ice man trek in 1987.

The five pals were raising money for equipment at Wigan Infirmary and have got together for the first time in 23 years to celebrate the landmark anniversary.

Trek organiser Martyn explained that the inspiration behind the trip was a sudden illness to his daughter Martyne.

He said: “She was taken ill and was looked after at the intensive care unit. They mentioned to me that they needed a new resuscitation trolley so I spoke to the guys at work and we decided to do it. Martyne is 34 now and was made up that we would all be meeting up again.”

The group completed the 120 mile trek up Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, on the border of France and Italy, in an impressive five days having been advised to do it in more like eight.

Martyn, from Leigh, said: “We just went for it so it didn’t take us as long as we expected. We haven’t been together as a five for more than 20 years so it’s great to be back together and reminisce about the trek.

“It has brought it all back for me, we’ve just been laughing and saying ‘yeah, I remember that bit and that bit’.”

A journal from the trek was serialised in our sister paper, the Wigan Observer back in 1987, detailing how the five struggled with blisters during the trip but enjoyed sampling the local wine. The group also posed to recreate their leaving photographs outside of the prison gates.

Martyn added: “It has been a great experience. Here’s to the next anniversary!”