Andy Serkis's glittering Hollywood career has taken him through the Misty Mountains of Middle-Earth as Gollum in Lord of the Rings and to the Indian jungles, where he directed an all-star cast in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. And now, the British actor and director has scaled new heights by climbing to Everest Base Camp in Nepal to raise funds for one of the Duchess of Cambridge's favourite charities – Best Beginnings.
Proving no mountain is too high, Andy was joined on this mammoth challenge by his actress wife Lorraine Ashbourne and their two sons Sonny, 19, and 15-year-old Louis. "I always feel at peace in the mountains – climbing is how we relax as a family," 55-year-old Andy, who along with Lorraine is a proud ambassador of charity Best Beginnings, tells HELLO! of his expedition to climb the world's highest mountain earlier this year.
"I always feel at peace in the mountains – climbing is how we relax as a family," said Andy
"It brought us closer together. It was an endurance test but encouraging each other when we had difficult days made it special," adds the star, who is often hailed the King of Motion Capture, with his ground-breaking roles such as Gollum and Kong in King Kong placing him at the cutting edge of film-making.
The gruelling 17-day trek saw the Serkises battle the altitude along the way – which had some unexpected effects on Andy. "I had the craziest dream that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn got married," he explained in a video blog of the trip. While Andy lost his appetite, Lorraine admits "there were a few days when I had egg and chips three times a day."
Best Beginnings Ambassador Nitin Sawhney CBE, Best Beginnings COO Shabira Papain, Best Beginnings founder Alison Baum, Andy, Lorraine
The tough challenge was made worthwhile – so far the Serkises have raised more than £12,000 for Best Beginnings, the national charity which aims to give all children the best start in life by supporting families through pregnancy and the early years. The charity has the backing of the Heads Together campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Last week, Andy and Lorraine once again showed their support for Best Beginnings as they joined a galaxy of sporting stars including Olympic skier Chemmy Alcott and heptathlete Denise Lewis at the annual Legends Ball, held at Mayfair's Grosvenor House Hotel. Lorraine looked elegant in a black dress accessorised with a pair of earrings from code by Edge, who are giving a percentage of their sales to support Best Beginnings and whose designs are based on Morse code.
For an exclusive 20% discount on personalised jewellery, visit codebyEdge.com and use code Hello20.