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Officer who refereed at Olympics boxing climbs Mont Blanc

17 Jul 2018 16:00 PM

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He has already made a name as a boxing referee at the Rio Olympics and now a North East police officer has completed his latest challenge - climbing to the peak of Mont Blanc.
 
Danny McFarlane has been a police officer for more than 25 years after leaving the Royal Marines to join Northumbria Police in 1992.
 
He has worked in a number of different roles in the Force but is currently a Public Order instructor, Taser instructor and personal safety trainer based at Etal Lane. 
 
Danny was previously in the news in 2016 after he was one of 36 officials chosen to referee boxing bouts at the Rio Olympics.
 
But the Police Constable didn't stop there and has now just completed another challenge - climbing to the peak of Mont Blanc.
 
Danny was joined by his brother Shaun to take on the highest mountain in the Alps and both had to spend his evenings in sleeping bags dug into the thick snow.
 
It took them two days to complete the trek through wind, ice and snow before reaching the peak - a mammoth 15,777ft above sea level.
 
Now Danny is warming up back home before preparing to pull his uniform back on next week and he said the climb was one of his biggest ever achievements.
He and Shaun, who is also a former Royal Marine, had previously attempted the climb in 2014 but were unable to reach the peak.
Danny said: “Me and Shaun attempted the climb when our mother Shirley died of cancer in 2014 but it was that little step too far for us.
“We wanted to do it in her memory and also because Shaun had been suffering from PTSD following a tour of duty over in Northern Ireland.
“For us to be able to finally complete this challenge is very rewarding but it also means an awful lot to me, Shaun and our dad.
“It was also a big thing for us for Shaun to complete it as it really sends that message to others suffering from PTSD that you can achieve anything you want to achieve.”
Danny added: “We are both former Royal Marines so we have been pushed to the brink before but it is very, very cold up that mountain and there is some really dangerous terrain.
 
"Temperatures at the top were as low as minus 15 degrees and you have to be tied together so nobody gets lost or leaves the route.
 
"We had to clamber up ridges and then climb up ice walls using axes and clampons either side of a night sleeping in the snow.
 
"It was really exhausting but it is a beautiful part of the world and that feeling when we both managed to get to the top together is difficult to describe.
 
"It is right up there with the Olympics but I'm not sure whether we will be integrating the climb into our police officer training just yet."
Danny and Shaun were both born and raised in Sunderland before joining the Royal Marines. Danny still works as police officer while Shaun works a tiler.