Local woman to become a record breaker on Everest

Intrepid Omagh woman Jude McKelvey is set to put her name in the record books when she plays a game of rugby on Mount Everest.

The 43-year-old will take on this monumental 24 day Himalayan challenge this coming April.

She is part of a group of 32 who will battle acclimatisation and heights of 6,500 metres to play the highest game of full contact rugby and the highest game of mixed rugby in history.

While looking forward to getting her name in the record books on this trek to the top of the world, Jude is also keen to raise money in support of Wooden Spoon, a charity she has been involved in for a number of years.

The LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge aims to raise more than £200,000 towards funding life-changing projects supporting children and young people with disabilities or facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland.

Jude, who is one of only four female participants, will be part of the team captained by legendary 87 times capped Welsh winger and record try scorer Shane Williams. The other three captains are English internationals Lee Mears, Ollie Philips and Tamara Taylor.

Jude said, “In the words of Richard Branson; ‘if somebody offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes then learn how to do it later’. This trip to Everest for such a worthy charity is my amazing opportunity. I am not sure how I can do it but I’m learning how. Quickly.

“I only started playing rugby and learning to tackle last year at the age of 42, and now I’m going to have to try and tackle Everest.

“It is such an amazing experience that I am only going to get to do once. I will be doing it with amazing people and at the same time raising money for Wooden Spoon, which I have seen first hand provide life-changing opportunities to so many young people.”

Now living in Essex, Jude upped her training while home in Omagh over the festive period with treks up Cuilcagh and Mount Errigal. She was also thrown in at the deep end with a survival retreat in the Lake District and is taking on Ben Nevis at the end of January as a practice run. She also also recently received some invaluable advice from famous explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

As part of her training, Jude also plans to participate in the Omagh Half Marathon on April 6 with her eldest son Archie, just days before she jets off to Nepal to hopefully set two new Guinness world records.

The other primary focus over the coming months is raising money and awareness for Wooden Spoon.

She said, “Their vision is that every child and young person, no matter what their background, has access to the same opportunities.
“They fund a range of projects including sensory rooms and gardens, playgrounds and outdoor activities, education projects, specialist equipment and facilities and health and well-being programmes.

“I’ve had many challenges in life, good and bad and I can’t think of a better reason to give back and play a small part in helping less able bodied and disadvantaged children.

“Any assistance you can spare would be amazing – whether a few pennies, pounds, encouragement, tips, clothing, corporate sponsorship would all be gratefully received. I am also looking any donations of signed sporting memorabilia or items to be auctioned and raffled at a forthcoming fundraising event. All support will be greatly appreciated.” 

To make a donation to Jude’s Everest world record attempt visit or Text EVERESTJUDE20 to 70085 to donate £20, texts cost the donation amount plus your standard network rate.

You can also take on your own personal challenge with the Wooden Spoon ‘Climb Your Own Everest’ campaign and raise money to help Jude on her way in helping kids, by visiting

Jude said, “Everyone has their own challenges and goals in life, physical, emotional, big or small. What’s your Everest?”

Jude McKelvey, who is set to scale Mount Everest in April for charity, pictured on a recent hike up Mount Errigal in Donegal.


Ulster Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW