Uckfield Lion hits a peak for charity

David Skinner climbs a rockface
David Skinner climbs a rockface

A 71 year-old member of Uckfield Lions who has two prosthetic hips has climbed a tropical mountain for charity.

David Skinner has always supported Lions’ charity, Leo House at Home Hospice for Children so decided to live his dream and climb the 4095.5m Mount Kinabalu in Borneo to raise funds for them.

On a clear morning on November 19, David, his stepdaughter Elly and her husband Rob joined guide Tumas on the two-day trek.

They arrived at base camp on day one ready for the 2am wake-up call the next morning. In spite of a nerve-shredding start in the pitch darkness, as light came up the day saw them clamber up rock faces, hang onto ropes and try to fend off altitude sickness.

David said: “Heading up the mountain in the dark was a great experience - we could see lights from surrounding towns and vilages as well as a line of head torches following behind us as 50 people made the ascent. Once we were 500 metres from the top, an orange glow coming from the east broke the wall of darkness.

“This sunrise continued and made for a spectacular last scramble to the summit. At one point we thought a wall of clouds might block our view, but it remained trapped on one side of the mountain and actually added to the amazing scene.”

The team spent ten minutes in freezing temperatures at the summit, then were ready to make their way down to base camp for cups of tea and rice with eggs.

David said the descent was as hard as the ascent and he fell over four times. Fellow climbers laughingly told the guide: “It’s his age.”

However they all completed the challenge and now have certificates to prove it.

David explained: “Our hard work, gritted teeth and extremely stiff legs go towards a bigger cause than self-congratulation and the experience was wonderful but it was undertaken with a serious purpose.”

To help him beat his target of £1,500 for the hospice visit: http://www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/David-Skinner6