A GROUP of fund-raisers from around Swadlincote are well on their way to reaching a whopping £75,000 target after a trek up Kilimanjaro.
The courageous team, who work for Trident Reach the People Charity, braved extreme temperatures and high altitude to conquer the African peak in a bid to fund three minibuses for vulnerable people living in the area.
The buses will enable elderly people and women and children who have fled domestic abuse to enjoy trips away boost their self-esteem and enhance their quality of life.
Four workers from the charity, which runs care complex Oakland Village, took part in the eight-day expedition, which was the brainchild of Gina Barsby, who manages the Reach South Derbyshire charity shop in Swadlincote.
Jane Strand, 27, a healthy eating project coordinator, said: “Kilimanjaro was a fabulous adventure – extremely hard but a fantastic experience.
“The high point was reaching the top of the mountain after eight hours of trekking in darkness, just watching the feet of the person in front of you by torchlight.
“I’ve climbed Mount Kenya before and trips like this are the kind of thing I enjoy but trekking Kilimanjaro is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.”
Kilimanjaro, in Tanzinia, is the largest free-standing mountain in the world, and its slopes are known to be some of the most inhospitable to climb. Temperatures ranged from 27C during the day to minus 20C at night.
She and tenancy support worker Ellie West completed a three-week trek in Nepal earlier this year to prepare for the feat.
Ms West, also 27, described it as ‘the most difficult experience of my life.’
Others spent months getting fit for the climb, on which they were joined by family and friends.
Fund-raising activities are continuing in the area to boost the final total for the mini buses, with some things planned for coming months.