Outside Edge: Sorry from Surrey, I'm in hurry

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The Independent Online

It must be strange to reach your 17th birthday knowing that there aren't really any challenges left in life. But then George Atkinson has had a steep learning curve.

Last week the teenager from Surbiton, Surrey, became the youngest person to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents when, aged 16 years and 362 days, he reached the summit of Everest; he had begun by conquering Kilimanjaro aged 11. The previous youngest was Johnny Collinson, a 17-year-old American, last year.

But spare a thought for Geordie Stewart, a student at St Andrews University who believed he had become the youngest Briton to climb the Seven Summits at the age of 21 when he reached the top of Everest on Thursday morning, only for Atkinson to clamber up behind him a couple of hours later and smash the record. The world of crampons is getting cramped.


Cost of L S Lowry's painting The Football Match, which was sold at auction by Christie's to an unknown buyer – the highest price paid for a picture by the Salford artist. It was originally bought for just £250 by Harry Walston, a farmer from Cambridgeshire. Surely only a footballer could afford it now.

Big game held up by bigger game

It can't have been often in cricket that a tiger has stopped play, especially not a rare white tiger, and certainly not in Hampshire. Armed police officers in a helicopter and, er, a golf buggy were sent into action when reports came in of a big cat sitting near junction seven of the M27.

A game between Hampshire Academy and South Wiltshire at Southampton's Rose Bowl was brought to a halt as players were advised to take cover in the pavilion. But thermal imaging showed no sign of heat coming from the beast and as they went down for a closer look, the cat tipped over. It turned out to be a cuddly toy.

A police helicopter was also scrambled in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, after 15-year-old Tom Clarke kicked a football which broke a pane of glass in a neighbouring greenhouse while he was playing in a pub garden. Thames Valley police claim the craft was already operating in the area but it does seem a little over the top.

Good week

Pippa Mann, the 27-year-old racing driver from London, becomes the first British woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 today despite having spent only one day of practice in an Indycar...

Bernard Hopkins became the oldest boxer to win a world title when the 46-year-old from Philadelphia beat Jean Pascal, 28, in Montreal to take the WBC light-heavyweight title...

Laura Byng sets a world record for the longest ride in a dodgem car, 25 hours, at Adventure Island, Southend.

Bad week

Adrian Shankar, a Worcestershire batsman, had his contract terminated after two weeks when doubts arose about his age and his claims to have been the leading scorer in a Sri Lankan domestic tournament...

The British Open Crabbing Championships at Walberswick, Suffolk, were called off after large crowds raised health and safety fears... Debbie Murden was refused service at a McDonald's drive-thru restaurant in Alfreton, Derbyshire, because she was driving a horse and carriage.

Mario is a big hit with victim of bullying

As another football season rolls to an end amid acrimony over the conduct of the players, let's try to show these overpaid pampered ego-maniacs in a different light.

Tottenham's Vedran Corluka handed his £36,000 diamond encrusted Hublot watch over to a waiter at the Whisky Mist nightclub in Mayfair because he said he liked it. OK, that's not so much generosity as sheer lunacy. But how about Mario Balotelli, an example of moderation in all things, who once gave a homeless man £1,000 as he left a casino?

When asked for an autograph by a young fan at training, he asked why the boy wasn't at school. The lad said he was being bullied, so the Manchester City striker drove him and his mother to the school, held a meeting with the headteacher and confronted the bully, making him shake hands with the victim.

Bully for Mario, he's got a heart of gold as well as everything else.