10:50AM, Wednesday 10 July 2013
An adventurer who was the first woman to reach the 'Roof of the World' from both the south and north sides inspired pupils at a Windsor school.
South African-born Cathy O'Dowd was guest of honour at Brigidine School's annual prize day on Friday.
The mountaineer and motivational speaker talked to the girls about her life and expedition achievements.
The 44-year-old is friends with one of the parents at the school in Kings Road and came back for a second time after visiting seven years ago.
She said: "I wanted to share a bit of my past and the things I have learnt along the way as I went to a similar school.
"There is so much opportunity and it is important to open up to any possibilities.
"No-one said to me the first thing I should do when I was younger was be the first South African to climb Everest."
Cathy, who lives in Andorra in the Pyrenees, said she first got to climb Everest after winning a women's competition for a spot on a summit expedition team.
In May 25, 1996, aged 27, she reached the 29,029ft summit in Nepal from the south before reaching from the north on May 29, 1999.
Cathy said: "It is not over once you reach the summit as you have a long way down, are tired and it is getting late.
"There is no opportunity to bask in the achievement."
Among the Brigidine prize winners were Seema Doll, 17, who received the prestigious Margaret Cairns Fortiter et Suaviter Award for Sixth Form.
Achievements prizes went to Virginia Sheckler in year seven, Laura Mody in year eight, Nellie Bates in year nine, Zafirah Sheikh in year nine and Hope Rangaswami in year 10.
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