‘Niece was watching over us’ in Nepal storm

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A man caught up in snow storms in Nepal with a group of trekkers believes his niece was watching over them when they were made to end their 200-mile pilgrimage in her memory.

Paul Deasy, 62, of Frognall, and his brothers-in-law - John Holmes, 63, and Howard Beedle, 69, from Derbyshire - were stuck 16,000ft (5,000m) up in the Himalayas for almost two days after the bad weather hit.

Avalanches forced them to stop and abandon their challenge when they were just a few days into their charity trek.

In an interview on the BBC, Paul said he believed his niece, Phillipa, who died from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2009, had been watching over them.

Paul’s sister Angela, of Deeping St James, said: “I am so relieved they are safe. Phillipa was a very spiritual person and I can believe she was looking after them.

“It’s a shame they have not been able to finish the challenge, because it was to raise money in her memory for Cardiac Risk in the Young.

“Paul isn’t a trekker but he is fairly fit. Lincolnshire isn’t the best place to train with it being as flat as a pancake, but he did a lot of cycling, sometimes 40 to 50 miles a day.

“But the main thing now is they are all safe and coming home.”

The group had been trekking around the Annapurna Circuit, chosen because Phillipa had done it before she died.

Angela said: “From what I hear, they were about to enter the path and a guy said ‘not today’, so they stayed behind.”

Mr Holmes described the conditions they faced in the television interview. He said: “As the conditions worsened we couldn’t go any further.

“There had been a landslide a little way above us and it was believed several people had been killed.

“It was tough because we had no power and very little heat except a little stove burning yak muck.

“It was very cold indeed as temperatures dropped to -15C at night.

“We are very well and back in the warm and very grateful that we have been looked after.”

The party are due to return home on Wednesday.

At least 39 people are thought to have died in the storms and 150 have been injured. The Foreign Office said it had no information so far that any Britons were among the casualties.