Starboard Hotels proudly announce safe return of Lee farmer

The brand new Holiday Inn Express in Burnley by Starboard Hotels is celebrating the safe return of climber Lee Farmer who was sponsored by us to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

Lee summited Everest from the more challenging south side, using five bottles of oxygen on his journey to the top, as the mountain rises to 8,848 metres (29,029 feet) above sea level. His ascent up the north side of the mountain had to be abandoned when the Chinese government closed Tibet during the journey of the Olympic torch to the summit.

“Tibet was off limits to foreigners,” explains Lee. “All of our plans were turned upside down and our dreams collapsed, we thought we would have to give up. Then we were given the opportunity to climb the south face – we were very, very lucky. We turned the negative into a positive.”

Lee, 36, has been climbing seriously for 12 years. It took six months of heavy training to prepare for the expedition – including lots of exercise and hill walking in the Brecons. He was one of a group of eight climbers who attempted the challenge – just two of them succeeded.

“It’s the first time I’ve climbed Everest and I’m very lucky to have summited first time. For many it takes three or four attempts.”

Based in Newbury and a land broker by profession, he works with Starboard Hotels in identifying potential hotel sites. Their sponsorship helped ensure the success of Lee’s expedition and also, helped him raise almost £4,000 for the National Society for Epilepsy.

As well as celebrating Lee’s victory, Starboard Hotels is counting down to the opening of the Holiday Inn Express Burnley on 4 September, the culmination of many months of work.

This 102-bedroom hotel is perfectly situated for business and leisure visitors, lying just off junction 10 of the M65 and close to Leeds, Manchester and Blackpool.

Many events are planned for the hotel’s September launch – including a talk and demonstration by the intrepid mountaineer.

Congratulating Lee on his successful expedition, MD of Starboard Hotels, Paul Callingham, says: “We are proud and delighted to have helped this ordinary guy do extraordinary things. Standing on the very rooftop of the world is one of those feats most people only dream about, he has actually taken his dreams and lived them.

“Like Lee, we strive to hit the heights of perfection in everything we do. We aim for the summit in the quality services we offer and the brands we work with are renowned across the world.”

Holiday Inn Express Burnley is the first of four hotels to be developed by Wembley-based Starboard Hotels as part of a £50 million investment package. A second hotel opens in Wetherby, Yorkshire next spring; a planning application has been submitted for a Holiday Inn Express in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, and a fourth hotel, in Edgbaston, Birmingham, is due to open in 2010.

The company continues to seek out new opportunities to develop branded hotels throughout the UK.