Three Guernsey charities are able to share £12,000 between them thanks to a team of three from Guernsey who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
Joe Abbotts, Carol Le Carpentier and Michelle Torode, who are all employees at Heritage, the independent insurance and financial services group, trained for eleven months in preparation for the trek by regularly pounding the cliffs and roads with weighted backpacks. Weekends were given up to train and raise as much as they could for their chosen charities. Fundraising events included raffles, car boot sales, bingo nights, horse racing nights and weekly meat draws.
The three Guernsey participants were among a dozen enthusiastic climbers who made the trek, which involved walking for a minimum of five to eight hours each day. The journey took seven days and six nights and began at 2,000ft above sea level and 19,340ft at the summit. Their daily routine was a wake-up call at 6am with a hot drink and breakfast, then it was on their way at 7am to the next campsite. Sleeping accommodation was in tents on uneven ground which led to some long sleepless nights. They encountered all weathers from the heat, rain, hail, snow and even an electrical storm during the night which shook the ground they slept on.
Michelle, 35, who suffered severe altitude sickness from day 2 onwards and was unable to eat anything for 5 days says “If it was not for the amazing encouragement from Joe, Carol and the Guides I would not have made it to the top. I did not anticipate how sick you could get.”
Joe, 53, says “the highs of the trip were having 2 good friends to climb the mountain with and the stronger bonds we have on our return. I can honestly say you go through a rollercoaster of emotions during and after the climb. There were many laughs and tears along the way.”
Carol, 46, says “my high was reaching the summit after thinking I couldn’t go on any further.”
On their return they were asked if they would do it again, all three said “never again” but as time passed and reflecting back on things they would now jump at the chance.
The three charities to benefit equally from the expedition are Guernsey Motor Neurone Disease Association, Alzheimer’s Society Guernsey and Wesley Community Pre-school.