A team of women from Uckfield is taking on an epic challenge to inspire others and raise funds for charity.
Angus Smith, Celine Woods, Carine Roberts, Cathy Dooris, Valerie Williams, Vicky Revill-Whelan, Tammy Trauntner, and Linda Salter are to hike to the peak of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and considered the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, in support of Chesnut Tree House.
They will fly to Tanzania on Wednesday (February 1) and start the climb on Friday (February 3).
It is thought to be a 38-mile trek that will take them eight days, with altitude sickness expected to be one of the biggest tests as they walk to a height of around 5,895m.
The women, who are calling themselves Team LUCKili (Ladies of Uckfield Climb Kilimanjaro), say they are ‘ordinary mums’ taking on an extraordinary challenge.
“Sometimes we are labelled ‘just mums’,” said Angus. “So by doing a challenge such as this we are able to show people, and especially our children, what you can achieve and inspire others to accomplish anything.”
The team has previously completed a Three Peaks Challenge and South Downs Challenge. It was Cathy who suggested Kilimanjaro.
“We had all seen reports of other ‘normal’ people taking on the challenge and thought it was something we could do,” she said. “We love to walk and know that it is often seen as the ‘easy’ option, but we are under no illusions about how tough this will be.”
On top of the challenge, the team is hoping to raise £7,000 for the children’s hospice, which provides care services to those with life-shortening conditions in East and West Sussex and southeast Hampshire.
The team has covered the costs of the trip personally, so all the money raised will go to the hospice; on their JustGiving page – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/LUCKili – they have raised some £4,700 to date.
“We wanted to support a charity working in the local community and Chestnut Tree really struck a chord with us,” said Valerie.
“When a friend of mine really needed hospice care for their teenage child, there was no children’s facility available like Chestnut Tree, which really can make a difference.”
To prepare for the trip, the group have been doing training walks along the Sussex coast and around Ashdown Forest and Glynde.
“It’s a big commitment,” said Angus.
“We need to say a big thank you to our friends and family. We are all parents of young families and without their support, this challenge would not be possible.”