African trek team aims high for Alice
Last updated at 15:42, Thursday, 13 September 2012
A TEAM of 16 people, many from Furness, plan to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro next month to raise funds for Alice Pyne’s charity Alice’s Escapes. CLAIRE CRISP talks to them about the challenges the trek presents
AT the end of this month a group of 16 intrepid adventurers, the majority of them from Furness, will set off on a 10-day trip to conquer Africa’s highest peak Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The group’s main motive is to raise around £70,000 for Alice’s Escapes, the charity set up by Ulverston teenager, Alice Pyne, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, to provide holidays for seriously ill children and their families.
Among the 16 trekkers will be Alice’s parents Vicky and Simon Pyne, as well as her cousin, Daniel Pyne, 22, an electrical apprentice at Sellafield who lives in Market Street in Millom.
He says he is looking forward to a return visit to the continent which he visited as a teenager and the chance to finally climb ‘Kili’.
He says: “I really enjoyed the time I spent in Africa when I was 19 and I am looking forward to going back. I spent three months in South Africa and 10 weeks in Tanzania but never got chance to trek Kilimanjaro then so I jumped at the chance to do the charity trek.”
While the primary aim is to raise cash for his cousin’s charity he adds: “I also really want to do this as a personal challenge.”
As you may expect of the Millomite his training has taken advantage of living in the shadow of Black Combe: “I have tried to get up and down Black Combe as much as I can when weather’s allowed – it’s not been an amazing summer.”
While he is confident his fitness levels will carry him to the top of the peak, he admits to being nervous about developing altitude sickness: “I have never had to deal with it and do feel a bit apprehensive as it is the only thing that stands in your way and you won’t know till you get there if it will affect you. You can’t really train for it.”
However, he adds there things you can do to try and prevent it: “You need to make sure you keep yourself warm, are well fed and well hydrated.”
Another problem faced by the trekkers could be the heat as temperatures in Tanzania at this time of year might reach 30-35C, but Daniel says “as we go up the temperatures will drop”.
The group, who’ve called themselves Team Alice – Kili 2012, are aiming to raise around £70,000 for the Alice’s Escapes charity by completing the trek and Daniel says the money will be well used: “I think the majority of the money raised will be used to buy a static caravan so Alice’s Escapes have permanent accommodation available in the Lakes, regardless of the time of year.”
Daniel is paying some of the cost of the trip to Kili from his own savings and has been fundraising over the summer to help towards the costs too: “I organised a music evening at the High Cross Inn which raised £900 and a bag packing day at Booths which raised £800.”
Another member of Team Alice, who is doing the trek alongside her brother and nephew, is Jill Mactaggart, 47, who lives on Main Street, in Baycliff.
Like Daniel she is has been to Africa before, having lived there for three years as a child, and has long nurtured the ambition to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.
So as a main fundraiser for Alice’s Escapes it seemed the perfect challenge to take on, she says: “I am friends with the Pyne family and have been involved with fundraising for the charity since its inception. Soon after it launched we were trying to think of something big we could do to raise funds and as soon as we thought of climbing Kili, it felt right. I didn’t hesitate to sign up – it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Jill, who spent some of her childhood in Zambia, says: “I spent my eight birthday in Mombassa and you could see the mountain in the distance and I have wanted to climb it for years and now Alice has given me that chance to do it.”
Her training has mainly consisted of fell walking in the Lakes as much as possible: “I’ve gone up Coniston Old Man and have also been on the treadmill at the gym as much as possible. I’ve been getting out on the fells about once a week but I’m hoping to build it up now we’ve only got a few weeks till we go.”
Jill who has already raised £2,000 in sponsorship and aims to raise a total of £5,000, finishes: “I am really excited about the whole experience but I am nervous too. But I am doing it with my brother and nephew and I know we will all be there to support each other.”
Another local couple who are taking part are Cathy and Simon Broomfield owners of Verstone Kennels in Ulverston.
Earlier this year Simon cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise funds for Alice’s Escapes, a cause close to both their hearts.
Cathy explains: “Simon and I see Alice as a very special friend of ours and so were keen to do as much as we could to support her charity.
“When she first published her ‘bucket list’ it was very personal to her but through that she has inspired so many other people to do things as well.
“She’s made us realise there’s so many things we want to do and that we need to start doing them instead of just getting stuck on the treadmill of daily life.”
Cathy and Simon, along with the other team members will fly out to Africa on Thursday September 27, ready to start the trek on Saturday September 29, with the aim of reaching the summit on Tuesday October 2. They will have a pre-trek acclimatisation day on Friday 28.
While, husband Simon completed the 1,000-mile bike ride earlier this year, Cathy, a sales manager for Liberty, says they are just ‘reasonably’ fit: “We have our dogs, so we really enjoy walking, and as part of our training we have done as much hill walking as we can possibly fit in at weekends.”
Like Daniel, the pair are worried about developing altitude sickness: “It is a massive worry for everyone doing the trek and is always at the back of our minds. If you develop altitude sickness you have to turn back, which is why we have to have a doctor with us on the trek looking out for signs.”
It may not sound like everyone’s idea of a holiday but Cathy finishes: “We paid our own costs and decided to do the trek instead of taking a holiday this year. So all the money we raise through sponsorship will go to Alice’s Escapes.
“As the date draws closer we are feeling a mix of nerves and excitement – it’s an amazing challenge to do.”
lIf you would like to sponsor the team go to www.justgiving.com/teams/TEAMALICEKILI
First published at 16:14, Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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