Helsby grandad Alan McKie, 80, prepares to climb Everest in memory of niece Izzy McEgan

Video report by correspondent Andy Bonner

An 80-year-old man is set to tackle the world's highest mountain with his grandson, in a quest akin to the TV series Breaking Dad.

Alan McKie from Helsby, Cheshire, will be following in the footsteps of Bradley Walsh who takes on impossible tasks with his son Barney.

However there is more than half a century between Alan and his grandson Matt Galley, 29, although the age difference isn't stifling the pair's enthusiasm to take on the 18,000 ft climb to the Everest base camp.

Base Camp on Mount Everest which is 5364 meters (17,598 ft) above sea level, Nepal Credit: Tom White/Press Association Images

Their quest is in memory of Alan's great niece and Matt's cousin Izzy Egan who died a week before her 20th birthday.

The University of Liverpool philosophy student was working at Camp America when she was diagnosed with stage 4 renal cell carcinoma, a kidney cancer which is rare amongst people aged under 50.

Izzy, from St Helens, knew about the trek before she died.

"I promised that we would climb Everest. Hence we're going to do it. Matt has always wanted to take a mountain on," Alan said.

"Why not start with Everest?" Matt added.

Izzy McEgan's mother says she was "the kindest, sweetest child". Credit: Amanda McEgan

Alan, a retired local councillor, is no stranger to mountain climbing.

He conquered Kilimanjaro ten years ago to raise funds for the Warrington-based Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Peace Foundation.

Alan explained, "It's about doing something for a reason. You don't conquer the mountain, you conquer yourself. That's the key.

"I feel we can do it. I'm sure Matt can. The thing which stops you more than anything is altitude sickness. I've been fortunate with that.

"We promised we would do it. So we must do it."

Matt, a qualified personal trainer, added, "For me it's just trying to get used to continually walking.

"We've done Snowdon and Moel Famau together. We've done what we can with what we've got nearby.

"Hopefully it's enough."

Alan McKie, 80, is training every day for his Everest challenge Credit: ITV Granada

Alan walks up Helsby Hill each morning in preparation and has been training at the gym with a 10kg rucksack on his back.

He says he will take a step at a time and that a positive mental attitude will help him through.

The trek has been postponed twice because of the pandemic but that has given the pair more time to raise money.

Claire House Children's Hospice which cared for Izzy in her final months will benefit, along with a scholarship fund at Camp America to help disadvantaged youngsters from the north west go to the United States.

Izzy's mother, Amanda McEgan, described Alan and Matt as "amazing".

"She was incredibly touched and proud that they would take on such a difficult challenge.

"Not many families have that kind of support. We are very lucky."

Izzy McEgan with her great uncle Alan McKie Credit: Amanda McEgan

Izzy was a Girl Guider and received her gold Duke of Edinburgh award at Buckingham Palace on her 18th birthday.

"Isabel always helped others and lived a life almost with a prescience," her mother added.

"It was like she knew she had to fit everything in. She just did everything 100%."

Guides and Scouts are decorating pebbles in Izzy's memory and leaving them across the world with the hashtag #beemoreizzy.

Matt and Alan will be taking one with them up Everest.

Alan said, "It's to try to spread the word. It's not about Izzy, but about what can be achieved.

"It doesn't matter where you come from, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. And she did.

"She would have been the sort of girl if I wasn't going, she'd go with Matt. She just threw herself into things."