Twenty-TWO courageous fundraisers have returned from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for local charity Safe@Last.
On Sunday, the staff, volunteers, friends and family were thrilled to welcome the climbers home as they returned safely from their 12-day trip.
After six gruelling days of trekking, basic living conditions and the struggle to acclimatise to the altitude, the team reached Mount Kilimanjaro’s Summit, at 5,895m above sea level last Thursday.
The final day was the most strenuous for the climbers, walking for a total of 15 hours, while coping with varying temperatures.
Hilary Massarella, Safe@Last founder trustee thanked everyone who sponsored the team for their support.
She said: “It has been the most difficult yet wonderful experience of my life – it was physically gruelling, freezing cold, dirty, beautiful, magnificent, emotional and so much more - all rolled into one.”
“I think we had all underestimated the harsh and extreme conditions that we would have to live in for the whole time, but the team spirit and the fabulous friendships that were developed and made and the laughter that was ever present will be something that I will cherish forever.”
Dan Dean, Safe@Last chairman of trustees, was there to welcome home the team and said that everyone was ‘incredibly proud’ of their hard work and dedication.
He added: “The support they have had from their partners and families has been incredible as well and I’m sure they will all say that they could not have attempted it without this support.”
“The success of this journey will be measured in the funds they have raised and the friends they have made, rather than the number of miles travelled.”
The team are continuing fundraising and money is still coming in, but so far they have raised over £55,000 to help secure the future of Safe@Last’s education and prevention project for another year.
This essential project aims to inform and educate children and young people about the risks and dangers of running away and provide them with information on sources of support. Without this massive boost from the Kilimanjaro climbers the project would not have been able to continue delivering to the 35,000-plus children it reaches every year. You can still sponsor them at www.virginmoneygiving.com/kili2012