Countdown to EMA’s action man Michael reaching the top of the world for charity

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The countdown is on for East Midlands Airport’s very own action man Michael McCorkindale to make it to the top of one of the world’s tallest mountains to raise funds for charities supported by the airport.

It is a week to go until Michael, a security team manager at EMA, sets off to the Andes to scale Aconcagua – the highest peak outside the Himalayas at 6,960.8m (22,837 ft). He is in the final stages of gruelling training which has involved long treks without a tent in the Peak District and on Snowdon, crampon training, strict diets and ice baths.

The expedition led by Argentinian sherpas will last 23 days, from Saturday 27 Jan to Sunday 18 Feb, and is likely to involve altitude sickness due to low oxygen levels, temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius – and feeling even lower with added wind chill - and the need for crampons and ice picks.

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Michael is undertaking the incredible challenge to raise funds for The Children's Society, Magic Breakfast and Medcare - charities being supported by EMA’s parent company MAG (Manchester Airports Group.) He already has more than £3,000 pledged and anyone still wishing to donate can do so at

EMA's Michael McCorkindale training in the Peak District for his fundraising trek in the AndesEMA's Michael McCorkindale training in the Peak District for his fundraising trek in the Andes
EMA's Michael McCorkindale training in the Peak District for his fundraising trek in the Andes

As charities supporting children, they are close to Michael’s heart, after a difficult childhood led him to want to help give children the best start in life. Much of his childhood was spent isolated in hospital due to an illness, but once this was controlled there has been no stopping him.

The 36-year-old from Anstey, Leicestershire, is known as the airport’s resident action man, having previously served as a Private in the Army’s Royal Anglian regiment, before going on to set himself a wide range of daredevil challenges. These include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, backpacking across Egypt, completing marathons, a Wolf Run, the Leicester to Skegness Cycle Challenge, the National Three Peaks challenge and leading teams around the Yorkshire Three Peaks ten times, among many others. Along the way he has been lost at sea and experienced venom poisoning, among other tight scrapes.

Michael said: “The Aconcagua climb is looming large now and my training has gone really well. I’m really grateful for all the donations so far and I would love further support in raising as much as possible for our charities, supporting the lives of young people.

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“I hope that conquering this mountain will gain my ticket to Everest, which is the ultimate challenge I am aiming for. I am also hoping that doing this influences people the age I was at when I was struggling. I want them to realise they can achieve anything they want to achieve.”

Mike Grimes, Customer & Planning Director at EMA, said: “Every time I hear about what Michael overcame in childhood and the incredible challenges he has taken on in his life, I’m totally amazed – he’s a real inspiration. He has even got colleagues involved including a planking challenge which saw different departments come together to help him raise more money for the charities.

“I hope that on top of the funds raised so far, others will be inspired by him and donate to the children’s charities which we are supporting and which are close to Michael’s heart.”