We were thrilled to welcome Tom Mouse, explorer, fundraiser, and star of his very own book series, to the Langdon Down Centre this week.
Frank, who is a key member of our Fundraising Team, took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Tom Mouse and talk to him about his adventures, his home and family and who and what inspires him.
Frank: Tom…welcome to the Langdon Down Centre! It’s lovely to meet you in person.
Tom: Thank you Frank. It’s lovely to meet you and all your colleagues at the Down’s Syndrome Association. Thank you very much for having me.
Frank: Our pleasure Tom! Firstly, I would just like to say how much I enjoyed your book … “You Can Do It Tom Mouse!” … for anybody who hasn’t seen it yet, it’s a wonderful read … I loved it! It tells the story of your expedition to climb Mount Everest?
Tom: I am so pleased that you enjoyed my book Frank. I have always had an adventurous streak and with the inspiration and support of my family, particularly my Grandfather, I was able to achieve this challenge last year, climbing Mount Everest to become the highest Mouse in the world! It was quite an adventure!
Frank: You met some wonderful people along the way I believe?
Tom: Oh yes. Everyone I met was so kind, and I made three fabulous friends who made a real difference to my trip … Simon the Marathon Running Yak, Dawa the Snowboarding Snow Leopard, and Helen the Disco Dancing Yeti. They really helped me out of a number of very tricky situations, using their superior skills in running, snowboarding and disco dancing!
Travelling is a really great way to meet people…I love it! And the friends that you meet add such a lot to your memories of your adventure.
Frank: Why did you decide to go all the way to Mount Everest?
Tom: Well…I spend a lot of my time at home thinking about my adventures. There are so many places to visit! I’ve got books about other explorers and travellers. My Grandfather is a great inspiration to me and was an explorer too … and he gave me a big beautiful globe of the world which I love looking at. I spin the globe and where it stops is where I go! … that was how I picked Mount Everest!
Frank: Were you worried about going all that way?
Tom: A little bit at first, but my Grandfather was really encouraging and supportive …. and gave me some great tips on what to pack; lots of essential items, like snow shoes, cheese & biscuits, ice lollies and a magnificent stick on moustache! … OK, perhaps not everything was essential!
Frank: Now…we don’t want to spoil the book for your readers so shall we move onto your adventures this year. I hear you revisited Mount Everest, but only went as far as Base Camp?
Tom: That’s right. My friend Dicky (who does a lovely reading my book here) was inspired by my adventures and decided he wanted to have his own.
He rode his motorbike all the way from London to Mount Everest Base Camp in Tibet and I hitched a ride with him. We went on a boat too, across the beautiful deep blue Caspian Sea to the amazing and secretive country of Turkmenistan, as we went deeper into Central Asia.
Frank: You must have driven through lots of different countries?
Tom: Yes … our route took us through 19 countries all together. There was so much to see. We met some lovely people along the way and had some amazing friends to ride with on the journey.
Frank: How long did the trip take?
Tom: We were away for two and a half months but there was so much to see each day. A short video and the full story with more pictures is on my website www.TomMouse.co.uk.
Frank: You must have had some fantastic food … what was your favourite?
Tom: As you can tell from my packing list, I do love cheese and biscuits … I also like cheese & onion crisps, but without the onion … ha ha!
Frank: What was the biggest positive for you from your adventure?
Tom: … it was such a privilege to experience the wonderful variety and mix of countries and cultures. We all have more in common than we sometimes think! People are People and Mice are Mice wherever you go …
Frank: So … what are you doing now?
Tom: I’m at home, planning my next adventure and book … there’s an awful lot of things to organise.
Frank: Can you tell us where you’re going?
Tom: It’s a secret at the moment … but as soon as I can, I’ll make sure that you and all my friends at the Down’s Syndrome Association know about it. There is a clue towards the end of the first book, and you can also follow developments on Twitter @TomMouseHQ.
Frank: Lovely! Do you have any top tips for other travellers?
Tom: Be curious; be polite to everyone … and pack plenty of cheese and biscuits … they’re great for sharing with your new friends! Don’t worry about packing the ice lollies so much, although the stick on moustache turned out to be great fun!
Frank: Well Tom…it’s been a complete pleasure meeting you. Thank you again for coming in to see us and best of luck for your next adventure and please do keep us posted.
Tom: Thank you Frank. I certainly will, it was great to meet you too.
We’d like to say a big ‘Thank you’ to Tom Mouse for sparing the time to meet up with Frank, and to Dicky Barr and Joanna Scott for helping to make the meeting happen.
Do you want to find out how Tom Mouse made it to the top of Mount Everest?
Or do you want to take him with you next time you go on a trip?
Dicky (also known as Richard) has supported the DSA for many years and is kindly donating a proportion of the profits from the sale of the Tom Mouse books to the DSA.