Welsh mountain a test for resolute climber

Patricia and Stan Preece are flying out to climb Cadair Idris in Wales as part of a reunion today.
Patricia and Stan Preece are flying out to climb Cadair Idris in Wales as part of a reunion today. Craig Warhurst

FIFTY years ago Stan Preece was a boy soldier climbing Welsh mountain Cadair Idris as part of his training.

Today he flies back to Wales to reunite with 11 other former boy soldiers to climb the mountain again.

The 66-year-old Gympie man will take his wife Patricia and friend Ken Hare on the journey.

Mr Hare was also a boy soldier and now lives in Nanango.

Mr Preece said he was looking forward to the trip and had been training hard to be able to get up the mountain again.

The mountain is 3000ft high and the temperature can drop to -5 degrees at the summit.

On top of the mountain is a hut the boys helped to build when they were in training.

"We were put through some tough training," Mr Preece said.

"It was very hard but very fulfilling."

The climb is part of a reunion to commemorate the times and events when boy soldiers, aged between 15 and 17, served in a bleak army camp at Tonfanau.

During the training, over a period of 18 months to two years before entering the adult army, the boys were regularly marched and run up the mountains around the camp in all weather as part of the adventure and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

On this occasion they will be joined by Stephanie Price, the Duke of Edinburgh Award director from Wales and a group of 15 young Welsh award participants.

Mr Preece said the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip, had expressed his support for the climb and wished the men well.

Prince Harry has also jumped on board sending a letter to the group wishing them all the best of luck on the climb.

The climb will commence Saturday March 23.

Cadair Idris
Cadair Idris

Topics:  gympie mountain climb reunion

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