MOUNTAINEER Mollie Hughes has joined the Queen, JK Rowling and Steven Spielberg in the elite club of gold Blue Peter Badge holders.
Mollie recently became the youngest-ever British climber to scale Everest from both sides.
The 26-year-old, who lives in Edinburgh, said she was “honoured” and “humbled” to receive the prestigious award in honour of her incredible achievement last month.
Molly, originally from Devon, scaled the 8,848m (29,029ft) peak from north side after previously climbing Everest from the south five years ago.
While on the second ascent Mollie wore a white and blue Blue Peter badge throughout the hike – marking the first time the legendary award has been carried to the roof of the world.
But yesterday (THUR), Mollie, a life-long fan of the show, was honoured yet again after being given the show’s most rare, gold Blue Peter badge.
The famous award is also held by football legend David Beckham, the late children’s author Roald Dahl and Olympic swimmer Tom Daley.
Each year only a handful of gold badges are awarded in recognition of outstanding achievements, bravery, inspiration and citizenship.
Mollie was surprised with the badge by Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell on yesterday’s (THUR) show while visiting the show to talk about her new record.
Bringing out a small wooden box, Lindsey said: “You didn’t know we were going to do this Mollie but for your incredible achievement and for inspiring Blue Peter viewers watching across the UK we would like to award you with our highest accolade. Itis your very own gold Blue Peter badge”.
A stunned Mollie responded: “Thank you. It’s like a life ambition come true isn’t it?”
She later shared photographs on her Facebook page showing her beaming with pride as she points to her gold plated brooch.
She wrote: “GOOOOOLD! What an honour!
“Today on Blue Peter I was given a gold badge. These things are seriously rare, only a few are given out each year. Steven Spielberg has one and so do Tim Peak and the Queen.
“Feeling pretty humbled to be in their club.”
Her post has received hundreds of likes and dozens of comments from supporters.
Carol Evans Stoddard said: “You’re such an inspiration to all the youth of today! So honored to know you.”
Mark Beverley wrote: “Well deserved Mollie.”
And Sue Ward said: “Mollie you really deserve this. You are an amazing young woman.”
Mollie appeared on Blue Peter back in February to talk about her expedition.
Following her appearance, she wrote on a blog: “For those readers that don’t know, where have you been? Blue Peter badges are a coveted award given to viewers and fans of the show.
“Lindsey told me that a Blue Peter badge had travelled to space, it had travelled to the South Pole, across deserts, but never had it been to the top of the world.
“Lindsey asked me if I would take the badge on my journey and attempt to get it to the summit of Mount Everest. Of course, I said yes.”
She added: “Blue Peter brings back so many childhood memories. When we were kids my brother and I would religiously watch it every day at 5pm. In fact, so did my parents.”
Mollie, originally from Torbay, Devon, reached the summit of Mount Everest from its south side in 2012, at the age of 21.
During her second challenge that she completed this week she posted video clips showing the struggles her team faced during the record-breaking ascent.
To help her get through the gruelling challenge she listened to Britney Spears and played with a Rubik’s cube to pass the time during rest periods.
Her achievement beat climber Lynne Hannah from Northern Ireland who in 2016 – aged 54 – became the first British woman to achieve ascents from both the north and south.