AFRICA - A nine-strong team put together by the major UK egg supplier LJ Fairburn arrived in triumph at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro after a gruelling seven day trek to the top of Africa’s highest mountain.
The team have scaled Kilimanjaro to raise money for Food for Good, a major fundraising campaign set up by the UK food industry to support Farm Africa, the charity that is working to end hunger in eastern Africa by helping smallholder farmers there to grow more food for their families.
Before reaching the summit, the team had already exceeded its hugely ambitious fundraising target of £35,000, with more donations still to come in.
The team - made up of employees and suppliers to the Lincolnshire-based company that supplies 10 million eggs a week across the UK - arrived at Uhuru Peak at 9.30am local time (7.30 am British Summer Time) today.
Uhuru Peak towers at 5,895 metres above sea level. Getting to the top is not easy and is the equivalent of scaling Big Ben 61 times.
Punishing eight and a half hour night time scramble to the summit
So scaling the mountain was no easy task for the team which set out late last night from their camp at Barafu Hut for the final push to the summit. Already exhausted due to the difficulty in sleeping at altitude and in such cold conditions, the team had to push themselves forward into a howling, icy wind for eight and a half hours. Before they reached Uhuru Peak they had to scramble over loose scree and up paths that were practically vertical at times.
Each climber felt the effects of altitude and everyone went through a dark patch at some point during the final stages. So it was an incredible achievement when the whole team emerged onto the summit to gaze out from the roof of Africa and be greeted by a beautiful sunrise.
Before the team set off for the summit last night they were thrilled to discover surprise messages of support from family and friends that had been carried up the mountain. It all made for an emotional departure from Barafu Hut and helped spur the climbers on.
LJ Fairburn’s Managing Director, Daniel Fairburn, summed up the whole team’s feelings on their triumph as he stood at Uhuru Peak: "It was a life changing experience. I've never gone through so many emotions in one day and am just thrilled that all the team made it together. We feel great, but we now have another five-hour walk back down to Mweka camp. There’s going to be lots of sore feet tonight!”
Responding in London to news of the team’s arrival at Kilimanjaro’s summit, Farm Africa’s Director of Fundraising and Communications, Pam Williams-Jones, said: “This is fantastic news and the culmination of a huge amount of hard work and effort. The team really deserves this success and I’m thrilled that their triumph has been acknowledged with so much sponsorship to help us extend our work to end hunger in eastern Africa.
“On behalf of all the farmers and communities we work with, I’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the climbers and their supporters for all the money they have raised through this climb.”
Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.