Sunday, 19 January 2014

Day 9: Back At The Hotel

By Bethany Ansell

Earlier today the climbers arrived back at the hotel in Moshi and have since been presented with their certificates. As you'd expect, we were inundated with updates from them as they re-entered the world of wi-fi. Here's what they had to say:

Carole: Conquered that mountain!! Probably THE hardest thing i have ever done!! Looking forward to a few days rest, then home to my lovely family! Thank you all for your love, support, sponsorship and belief xxxx

Ally: What an amazing adventure. Sad it's over but it was immense not sure it's sunk in thank you for your donations and support.

Tommy Lillington at the summit
Tommy: Ok so back in the land of the living and a phone signal!! I have to say that was the hardest thing both physically and mentally I have ever ever done!! Four days in all was going well until altitude sickness got me big time so on day five did a five hour walk to base camp throwing up at least a dozen times then followed by the 6 hour summit walk through the night feeling like I had nothing left before I even started!! That night was the hardest night of my life had to dig deeper than ever, but hey we got there in the end. The whole team were amazing we laughed and we cried boy did we cry sooo emotional but we did it - what an amazing team - thanks for the lovely messages guys : -) xxx

Barney: So.... It turns out I can climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro after all!!! What an amazing week with amazing people. One that I will never forget!! Thank you to all that have supported my trek but most importantly the climbers that I have shared some amazing and very emotional experiences with!! Without their support and friendship, the climb would not have been possible!

Jaime and Lee Burton at the summit
Lee: Back in the hotel, drained!! But taking a lot away with me. We have all learnt a lot about ourselves, the team and we can all learn a lot from the mountain and those who work on her. Deep respect. Being ill on the first day of the climb was painful but with the help of the team I got through it!! Every team member had highs and lows and helped someone in some way!

Jaime: Back at the hotel! Wow that was the toughest most emotional thing I've ever done! But we did it! I couldn't have done it without Lee Burton! One step forward 2 steps back, and he stopped me falling over! I had a little nap on the way up in -10 so you can imagine how exhausted we all were! We have just had our certificates presented by private expeditions and all now heading for the showers. Such an emotional journey and I had to really dig deep to get to the top! Start flight home tomorrow and be back Tuesday morning. Laters! Xxx

Donna: Well I didn't make it to summit along with my fellow climbers, but I did make it to base camp! I'm now back at the hotel and about to hit the shower, as I well and truly smell quite badly. There has been an awful lot of tears ( mainly mine) but there has been a shed load of laughter, and if I hear anyone say that I've just come back off of holiday, I will personally shove their nose into my walking boots!! Lol can't wait to see my family and my buddies, luv u all xxx

Jack and Tom enjoying a well deserved rest back at the hotel
Tom: That's that then: I've climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Almost to soon to say how it feels (unbelievably tough), glad to be back at the hotel now. Cheers for all the support, sponsorship and love, you're all wonderful. Big hats off to my teammates especially, couldn't have done it without you.

Ben: Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my whole life, I am completely ruined. But what a sense of achievement. Couldn't have asked for such a great bunch of climbing buddies. Time for a few Beers I reckon xx

Lee's revenge for the photo Tommy sent us at the start of their adventure of Lee sleeping. Bless.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Day 8: To The Summit of Kilimanjaro!

By Bethany Ansell

They did it!! They climbed all the way to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at 5895m and here they are flying the Dorset flag looking suitably chuffed.

Huge congratulations are in order to The Lucky 13 for all they have achieved on behalf of The Steve Charles Help a Friend Fund.

Unfortunately our lovely Donna had to stay at Barafu Camp because she was hit with altitude sickness. When this happens, for health and safety reasons, climbers are advised to stay at a lower altitude.

We are gutted for you Donna but you still reached 4600m - which is near as dammit! The rest of the climbers rejoined Donna at Barafu Camp this morning for a rest and they are all now on their way to Mweka camp at 3100m for their last night on the mountain.

They will have a traditional Tanzanian meal for dinner tonight and a chance to say what I imagine will be an emotional goodbye to their guides from Private Expeditions, before heading back to the hotel tomorrow.

So they reached the top - all but one, who with altitude sickness was overcome (you can have that one Alistair Chisholm if you're reading this).

Please join me in congratulating all 13 of our climbers for such a tremendously epic effort!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Day 7: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

By Bethany Ansell

Sshh! Don't wake The Lucky 13. They have reached Barafu Camp at 4600m and from here they will begin their summit attempt to the roof of Africa just after midnight tonight.

Our charity climbers have had the afternoon to recoup and relax in preparation for their final ascent to the top of Kilimanjaro, the mountain "created in flames and crowned by ice."

They are attempting to sleep early this evening and will later be woken by their guide with tea and biscuits before setting off by moonlight.

This is it. Let's push them up that mountain with our positive thoughts...

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Day 6: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

By Bethany Ansell

Amazing news! Our climbers did battle with the Great Barranco Wall today and all 13 of them were victorious. Well we don't call them The Lucky 13 for nothing.

So what's so difficult about The Great Barranco Wall? Well in climbing terms, it's a scramble and involves having to pull yourself over rock. It's also incredibly narrow and steep in places, which can be physically and mentally challenging when you throw altitude into the mix.

Today they started from Barranco Camp and climbed over the Great Barranco Wall and counter-clockwise around the mountain to their stop for the night, Karanga Camp at 3950m.

Keep up the good work team! If you would like to make a donation to The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund, please click here.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Day 5: Shira Camp To Barranco Camp

The Lucky 13 at Shira Camp
By Bethany Ansell

Today The Lucky 13 climbed from Shira Camp at 3850m to Barranco Camp at 3950m and the guides from Private Expeditions have confirmed that they all arrived safe and well.

This is one of the hardest days as they may be starting to feel the effects of the altitude. For this reason, the route follows a "climb high, sleep low" strategy which helps to prepare the body for the reaching the summit.

So even though our climbers started at 3850m and finished at 3950m today, in the interim they climbed to Lava Tower at 4600m for lunch before descending to their camp for the night.

Lava Tower at 4600m
According to our friends at Private Expeditions, it's meat and two veg for din dins tonight with a soup starter and fruit for pudding.

They will need the energy because tomorrow they must conquer the Great Barranco Wall, which is one of the biggest challenges of the route. More on this later...

In the meantime, here's a little treat for you - enjoy!

If you would like to make a donation to The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund, please click here.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Day 4: Machame Camp to Shira Camp

By Bethany Ansell

We have had official confirmation from the guides at Private Expeditions that our climbers, The Lucky 13, are on schedule and all doing well. After spending their first night on the mountain at Machame Camp last night apparently they woke up to an 'all you can eat' breakfast. I'm not sure if this is a joke or if they really did have a banquet!

Let's hope it's the latter as they will have needed the energy today to get from Machame Camp at 3000m to Shira Camp at 3850m. If all else fails, the 600 snack bars kindly donated by Dorset Cereals should see them through (read the original article).

Yesterday's forest gave way to giant heathers, giant senecio (please say I'm not the only one who had to Google that) and lobelias today and it's much steeper - our climbers will have been scrambling over rocky ridges in their shorts. The Private Expeditions blog describes this as Dr Seuss land!

We haven't heard from the climbers themselves since they left the hotel yesterday morning which is either due to technology issues or energy preservation, but we'll keep you updated.

Oh and let's not forget the most important part of today's story - beef biryana for dinner. Sounds like they are all being spoiled to me!

That was a joke of course. The Lucky 13 are putting themselves through a tough physical and emotional challenge to raise much needed funds for the charity. If you would like to make a donation to The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund, please click here.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Day 3: Machame Gate To Machame Camp

By Bethany Ansell

And they're off! This morning the lucky 13 started their climb from Machame Gate to Machame Camp at 3000m, where they will spend the night. At the time they set off the temperature was around 33°C with clear blue sky. Their guide from Private Expeditions lead them through the rain forest chanting 'Pole! Pole!' which means 'Slowly! Slowly!' to the first camp.

Upon reaching Machame Camp they were greeted by snacks, hot washing water, lots of tea and their tents all ready for them. They then had a chance to relax before dinner with banana crisp and Nutella for pudding! After this they will sleep under the stars and prepare themselves for Day 4: Machame Camp to Shira Camp.

This Morning

Before leaving this morning some of the climbers had time to give us one last update using the hotel's wi-fi. Tommy posted the following update from his phone with the caption 'OMG!' (no doubt this countdown had been on his phone for almost a year so it's only right that I share it with you):

In contrast, Tim went for the undersell with his post: "Today I am going for a walk!!".  As the official charity representative, Jack's thoughts turned to the fund: "That's it, I am off up Mount Kilimanjaro. I may be some time . Thanks again to all who got me here, and for The Steve Charles Help a Friend Fund for the amazing work it does to help others which is why I am here today."

Meanwhile Donna was thankful for the support already received from everyone at home : "Right folks this is it, if you hear from me before next Sunday I have failed in reaching the summit. Once again thanks to everyone that has supported me, you've all been fantastic. Thanks for all of the messages of support, you don't know how much it boosts my morale. We have got a really good team and I know we are gonna make it, we have spoken to people that have reached summit and have told us how fantastic and emotional it is, so until Sunday goodbye and good luck to all of the team xx". 

Finally Carole posted this photo of the team getting ready to leave:

Last Night

Nerves were at an all-time high last night but the lucky 13 were mostly excited as they prepared themselves for the challenge ahead. Here's what they had to say...

Tom: "Last night of relative comfort before the start of an enormous challenge - to be honest it can't be a lot more taxing than the flights here. We've eaten dinner, done some hardcore hydration, talked a lot, and we're all very excited. Can't wait to actually be on the mountain now. On a personal note, I'm missing Rachel and the furry little fellas a lot. See you all the other end. I expect the first gig when I'm back will be riotous. Come on then mountain, let's have you."

Jaime: "Ok so we have had a quiet day relaxing at the hotel. Everyone has butterflies. Off to sleep now and ready for 7am breakfast and off we go! No more wifi when we leave! We have all packed our mountain bags and set to go! I have had some FaceTime with James and Olivia and they are fab so bring it on Mount Kilimanjaro... I am ready for whatever you throw at me!!! OMG I'm nervous though. Night all xxxxx"

Barney: "Excited for the morning and the huge challenge ahead. It's been a nice relaxing day chilling with the crew. We have an early start tomorrow but we all (whether we like to admit it or not) cannot wait to get started. If I can I will post again before the week is up but you can follow our progress on the blog or private expeditions page. Wish the lucky 13 luck and we'll see you on the other side."

Tommy: "Ok so this maybe my last post for a while as for some reason my 3G isn't working so if I cannot post then please follow our progress through the other climbers or the blogs. We have now had our last supper and are just keen to get on with it I've never seen so much water being drunk at one meal!! Should start the climb tomorrow around 10ish your time - here we gooooo xx"

Lee: "One more sleep, force fed food down for dinner that I didn't want knowing it will come in handy. To date I have conquered Kilimanjaro water, Kilimanjaro beer, stared the mountain in the eyes (from the plane and hotel) tomorrow it will feel my boots!"

Ben: "Tomorrow is the big day, it's been a lovely day acclimatising. Now having a nice pre bed cup of tea with my roomy Tim Emberley and our neighbour Jane Massey. Then it's off to bed ...... It's gonna be a long old day ahead - feeling pumped."

If you would like to make a donation to The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund, please click here.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Day 2: Rest Day In Moshi

By Bethany Ansell

Our climbers arrived in Moshi yesterday and spent the night in Sal Salinero Hotel. Today they have been relaxing and preparing to start up the mountain tomorrow.

The photo above was taken by the guides at Private Expeditions, and you can follow their blog here

This morning, Lee Burton said: "Breakfast done, then climb brief kits check then hydration hydration hydration ready for tomorrow morning." Meanwhile Carole Landon said she was feeling 'momentarily relaxed.'

A Few Words From Al Murray:

After a nervous morning of last minute packing/panicking the time came to leave for Dorchester to meet with the team.

An anxious bus ride later and we all arrived at Heathrow. A swift check in then time came for some pre flight beers.

A long over night flight to Doha, with a very dodgy landing we had just enough time to connect to our next flight to Dar Es Salaam.

At which point we where flown on to Mount Kilimanjaro airport where we where met by a blast of heat and the exped team (Arsenal fans).

A short bumpy bus ride later we have arrived at the hotel! So basically, a very long flight got to catch a very long flight after which we caught a very short flight. After that a bus trip then dinner.

We had the climb brief this morning. Our bags are packed and we are ready to rock and roll! Looking forward to it.

To sponsor Al Murray, click here. In the meantime, here are a few more pictures from today...

Ben Wain doing a bit of mountain reading
The afternoon pre-climb coffee club (Ben Wain, Tim Emberley,
Al Murray, Jane Massey and Tommy Lillington)
The coffee club and Lambie 
Ben Wain and Tim Emberley in what they call 'the man pad'
If you would like to make a donation to The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund, please click here.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Day 1: Arrival In Tanzania

By Bethany Ansell

After 3 long flights and a bumpy bus ride the climbers have arrived safely in Tanzania and checked into the Sal Salinero Hotel, Moshi. Apparently they could see the mountain on the way to the hotel and Ben Wain commented that 'it's very big'!!

Below are a few pictures we've been sent by Tommy Lillington from the flight. To donate, please click here.

Jane Massey and Ben Wain
Jack Daniels
Jaime and Lee Burton
Lee Burton (I'm sure he'll thank you for this one Tommy)
Tom Caulfield and Carole Landon
Tom Caulfield

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Thank You From Tommy

By Tommy Lillington

Ok so the time has come to depart and head off to that mountain - what a year it has been! When I reflect on 2013 I remember back to that first meeting when I saw faces around the table that I had never seen before - not realising how quickly these people would become my friends. I remember the hours and hours we have spent walking the amazing Dorset coast as well as the fundraising events where we met wonderful people who found time to come along and support our wonderful charity.

Most of all though I remember the laughter. I have laughed a lot over the last year and that's the great thing about hiking - you can still enjoy banter while you train. I have to say though; the reason for this article is not just for reflection, it is also for me to say a few thank yous and (at risk of this now sounding like an acceptance speech) I will now do so...

Firstly I want to thank all my friends who have put up with my endless Facebook posts and sponsorship pleas over the last 12 months - thanks guys for following my journey.

I want to thank those of you who have supported our chosen charity; whether through attending and supporting fundraising events or through your very kind donations - thank you so much.

I want to thank each and everyone of my fellow climbers who have had to put with Tommy Lillington in their lives for 12 months. It's been a roller coaster but we are here and as ready as we can ever be.

Thank you Bethany for blogging my updates over the last 12 months. You are doing this as a good friend of the climbing group and I just want you to know that it is really appreciated.

I would also like to thank Jack Daniels for kicking off this whole crazy idea and without whom none of this would have happened. I want you to know that your hard work throughout the year is really appreciated - thank you Jack.

Lastly I want to say my biggest thank you to my amazing family; my two amazing boys who have had to put up with Dads ramblings for the last year but never complained and have given great support to their old man. To hear both of them tell me how proud they are makes me want to burst - thank you boys I love you very much.

Now onto my biggest thank my wonderful wife who has been there for me for the whole year. Thank you for coming on training walks with me, kicking my arse when needed and providing emotional backup all the way. Natasha Lillington you are the most wonderful person and I thank and love you so much. I promise you that you will get me back in 2014 - thank you xxx

Thanks again everyone wish me luck and I will see you on the other side :-) 

If you would like to sponsor Tommy Lillington, please click here:

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Last Blog Post Before We Go

My 4 and 6 year old babies who are being very grown up about us going away!

So we have 2 more sleeps before we fly out to Kilimanjaro on Friday! What have I been doing to prepare? Well I have been using the altitude machine as much as possible. Its been hard to find an hour out of my day to sit down and breathe less air! The children often came with me and they asked many questions about the machine. Jack and Tanya have put up with an army of people coming through their house over the past few weeks to have a go...starting as early as 7am and me often being the last at 7pm! Thank you both for letting us all invade your home.

Jack and I decided we needed to stretch our legs one day so headed over to Maiden Castle for a quick 11k walk. It did decide to totally tip down with rain and we had to stop to get waterproofs on. This was the first time Jack had used his hood and it was very entertaining. It came right down over his eyes and he couldn't see a thing. I laughed the whole way round everytime I looked at him. My boots got totally caked in mud and they are still sat by the door waiting for me to clean them off!

We have all been using the altitude training machine as much as possible 
I have spoken to the children every day about the climb and explained Mummy and Daddy will be gone for 11 sleeps. We are taking them out for a treat after school on Thursday to Toys R Us and a meal out. I am very proud of my 4 and 6 year old babies who are being very grown up about us going away. 

So mentally I'm there and ready to climb. Although a slight set back is that I have not felt very well for a few days now with a cold threatening to take over...I have never taken so many tablets and odd remedies! I have just eaten a spoonful of Manuka Honey. YUK! So hopefully I can fight it off because if it decides to set in my chances of summit are very slim! Its hard enough to breath fit and healthy so having a simple little cold will almost defiantly result in problems. So I have everything crossed and hope I recover quickly.

A slight set back is that I have not felt very well for a few days now
We had our send off at Durnovaria on Monday and it was lovely to see so many people come and wish us well. It was a chance for me to say thank you to my big sponsors Read Woodruff Accountancy and Rhino Fencing. Thanks again for your amazing support over the year.

So this is it! Bags are almost packed and I start on malaria tablets tonight. One more day at work tomorrow and I am finally there. It has been a challenge just to get to the bus in the car park with all the fundraising and events over the year. Thank you by the way to everyone who came to the Christmas Party, it was such a great night. I hope to post a couple of Facebook statuses while I am gone and someone will get a call when I get to the keep your phone on Mum!

Good luck to everyone in the group. See you at the Top of Town car park on Friday at 2.30pm. To anyone who would like to sponsor me, please click here:

The Barranco Wall which we will be climbing over next Thursday I think!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A Good Send-Off

Last night we gathered at Durnovaria in Dorchester to officially wave goodbye to our Kilimanjaro charity climbers before they leave for Tanzania on Friday. It was emotional and exciting as all 13 climbers posed together for a group photo with Stella Jones, the Mayor of Dorchester.

Dorchester Town Crier Alistair Chisholm cited some verses written specially for the occasion, which went down very well. Following this Mayor Stella Jones said a few words of support and our very own chairman Ben King gave a moving speech to recognise the huge difference the climbers are making to the lives of those struggling in our local area.

Amongst those in attendance was Kalli Wright, a 2 year-old girl suffering from Wilms Tumours on her kidneys (pictured above with mum Jodie Critchell and climber Ben Wain). The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund has been helping to fund trips to Southampton for chemotherapy as well as travel and accommodation expenses for two major operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Also mentioned as a recipient of charity support during the event was 14 year-old Rian Harvey, a student from Thomas Hardy School currently receiving treatment for acute Myeloid Leukemia. Unfortunately he was unable to attend as he was staying in Southampton General Hospital at the time.

We would like to thank the staff of Durnovaria for hosting the event and providing nibbles and drinks. They are great supporters of the charity and will be keeping you all updated on where our climbers are on the mountain by writing on their wall - no not their Facebook wall, their real wall!

Our 13 climbers are scaling Kilimanjaro not just to raise awareness but to collect funds for The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund. Please support them and us by donating on our JustGiving page:

Monday, 6 January 2014

Less Than One Week To Go

By Barney and Charlotte

With less than one week to go, all our gear is packed, vaccinations sorted, visa in the passport and all our necessary medication obtained. It seems like it’s been a long year in the making, with plenty of training walks completed and numerous charity events attended. It now boils down to just one thing…climbing Mount Kilimanjaro!!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those people who generously donated their time, venues and prizes to help raise money and awareness for The Steve Charles Help a Friend Fund. It’s been a tough year training and raising money for this event but all the hard work has paid off. The Charity has really grown over this past year with all the time and effort that the whole team has put in.

While we can’t thank every single individual that has donated we would like to mention the businesses that have contributed greatly, either through our events or through continual support. Those are as follows:

Glyn & Beth Worthington – The Galley Bistro Weymouth

David & Joy Scadden – Sunny Days Nurseries Ltd.

Barry Whettingsteel - Dorset Digital Solutions

Gary & Ali Record – Lazy Lizard

Lewis Taylor - BoHo

Chris Coghlan – JuiceBox Handmade Instruments

Jerry Butcher - ApotsPhoto

Dorset Cereals

Fulvio Figliolini – Rossis Ices

Rob and Terri Cole – The Esplanade Hotel

Andy Steel – Personal Trainer

Steph Geran – South Coast Equestrian

Chris Piercy – Magician

Billy Hutchinson, Olly Coe & Josh Ellis – The Leggomen

Mark Storey & David Powell

Nathan Bennett - UDL

Wendy Buckingham – The Spice Ship, Preston

Olives Et Al, Poundbury Garden Centre

…and last but not least…

The Bands: Shooter, Hustle, Stereoironics, Lo Numbers & The Jolly Boys Outing

Huge apologies if we have forgotten anyone. Your support has not gone unnoticed and we’re very grateful for the generous donations we have received.

We look forward to sharing this amazing experience with you. If you would like to follow us you can do so here:

See you on the other side…

Barney & Charlotte