Airport charities set to be on top of the world thanks to action man Michael


A security officer at East Midlands Airport (EMA) is preparing to take charity fundraising to new heights by scaling one of the tallest summits in the world.


Michael McCorkindale, a security team manager at EMA, is in training for a 20-day trek on Aconcagua in the Andes, which at just below 7,000m is the highest peak outside the Himalayas. It is one of the challenges he must complete on a journey to eventually climb Everest, and he’s hoping to put the airport’s chosen charities on top of the world with his fundraising efforts.

For the trek in January, he will join a small team including Argentinian Sherpas, and expects to be faced with altitude sickness due to low oxygen levels, temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius, and the need for crampons and ice picks to make it to the top.

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 nine times.

Next week, he will make it ten times when he sets out to scale a total of 1,585m on the Pennine peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in under 12 hours. He aims to complete the challenge next Wednesday (November 8), with other members of EMA staff joining him. As well as being a training session in the run-up towards the Aconcagua challenge, it is also raising funds for The Children's Society, Magic Breakfast and Medcare - charities being supported by EMA’s parent company MAG (Manchester Airports Group.)

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.

Michael said: “I had a rocky start in life, with an illness that meant I was often in hospital and on my own, until the illness was controlled when I was 16.

“Once I could live a normal life, I wanted to do everything! I decided to focus on fitness which led me to joining the army, which gave me the confidence, discipline and sense of adventure that I needed in my life.”

His adventures have taken him across the world, and include swimming with sharks, experiencing venom poisoning in the Caribbean and being lost at sea in a dinghy with one oar and a bottle of whisky. He draws on lessons from his childhood to stay two steps ahead and to never give up – and wants to inspire and support children daunted by difficulties facing them.

He said: “It breaks my heart knowing there are people out there who feel helpless. I didn’t have the hand on my shoulder telling me everything will be okay, but now I can be that hand for others. I want children to know they are not alone and to never give up, and I want to help those who have less.”

Mike Grimes, Customer & Planning Director at EMA, said: “Michael is such an inspiration, having overcome serious difficulties in his early life to now be taking on some incredible challenges. We’re really proud of his achievements and so pleased he has chosen to take on his next challenge to raise money for our charities, which all support children facing adversity.”

As he prepares to undertake the Three Peaks Challenge, Michael urges everyone to donate what they can here https://www.givewheel.com/fundraising/1858/michaels-aconcagua-climb/, with another fundraising push ahead of his Aconcagua challenge in the New Year.