Off to Everest
Team have all beaten addiction
Three men from Rutherglen and Castlemilk who overcame addiction are heading on the journey of a lifetime next month. John Ferns, Davie Main and Donald Martin are trekking to Everest base camp with friends from Calton Athletic.
Three men from Rutherglen and Castlemilk are preparing to trek to Everest base camp next month.
But that will still be nowhere near the greatest challenge of their lives.
John Ferns, Donald Martin and Davie Mains have all overcome addiction thanks to support group Calton Athletic.
The trio will jet out to Nepal alongside five others on November 10 to tackle the world’s highest mountain, a far cry from their days when addiction left them at rock bottom.
Each man has endured their own journey to get there and, according to Davie, Everest will be a picnic compared to his battle with drink and drugs.
A promising footballer in his youth, the 47-year-old now lives in Burnside, having first approached Calton at the age of just 20.
He said: “The biggest challenge for us is getting through one day at a time. Going to Everest is exciting but nothing compares with those early days.
“I have a lot of time under my belt now but the first few years are a person’s biggest challenge but also the most rewarding one.”
Looking back on his darkest days, Davie said: “I was a prospect. I played football but I thought I was missing out on something with my friends and got involved.
“I don’t blame my friends. I only blame myself.
“By the age of 20 I had lost everything. I think people only start to get better when doors start closing on them.
“People were getting fed up trying to help me.
“When my daughter was born and prison was coming into view, that’s when I knew I had to do something.
“A few of my pals died. It was getting a lot more serious. It wasn’t harmless fun anymore.
“Back then I couldn’t see past the next day but when I went to Calton I was listening to people who had got their lives together.
“The main goal is to stay sober. I went in 1989 and we were going to go to the World Cup in Italy the next year. That was my goal: to stay sober and the end product was the trip.”
Donald, who works with Davie at the Kibble, a specialist service for young people at risk, is a relative newcomer at Calton compared with the other two, having been going for 11 years.
He decided to go to Calton after alcohol “took me places I didn’t want to be”.
He has already been to Machu Picchu in Peru and the Austrian Alps but he admits Everest is a completely different prospect.
“When we went to Austria I had to write a resume and I said that maybe one day I would get to Everest.
“It just shows these things can happen. We’ve been planning this for two years and that gives us a focus to stay sober.”
As well as Calton, Donald, 37, who now stays in Spittal, credits his wife Lesleyanne for helping him through.
“My wife has been a rock,” he said, “but I think she’s excited to get rid of me for a few weeks.
“Without her this would not have happened because she stuck by me. We only got married last year and I’m actually going to be away for my wedding anniversary.
“She understands it is about the other guys as well.”
Bus driver John, 49, has organised the trip and he revealed Everest will tick off one item on his ambitious bucket list.
He said: “When I was a boy I wanted to go three places: the Moon, the poles and to Mount Everest. They all seemed so far away.
“I am in recovery 14 years and if you had said to me back then I would be doing this I would have laughed.
“When I was abusing I couldn’t even get up Castlemilk Drive, never mind Everest. I’m thrilled.”
Calton have a focus on physical wellbeing helping people’s mental wellbeing and the three also took part in the Great Scottish Run at the weekend.
The group had to fundraise all the money for the trip without a sponsor, although they received a grant from the Scottish Mountaineering Trust.
The Reformer first revealed details of the trip in 2014, and, now it is nearing the actual time, John from Castlemilk is finally getting excited.
“I’d say I’m getting some butterflies,” he said.
“I’ve been organising this from the start, for two years, so I’ve probably been too busy to actually sense the reality of it.
“Now everything is in place, I am actually getting a bit of a feel for it.”
You can follow the group’s progress on the Calton Athletic Facebook page.
Mountain to climb Davie Main, John Ferns and Donald Martin