Intrepid duo conquer Kilimanjaro

Derek and Wayne at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Derek and Wayne at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
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A grateful Clitheroe grandfather scaled Africa’s highest mountain with his friend to raise money and say “thank you” to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool.

Derek Russell (67) and Wayne Ellison reached Kilimanjaro’s 5,895 metre high peak after five gruelling days of climbing - to be met by the most amazing views either had experienced in their lives.

The mission also exposed the duo to extremes of temperature and altitude sickness.

Derek said: “The words ‘hard’ and ‘tough’ do not do the effort justice - it was extremely hard, unbelievably tough, relentless, tiring beyond belief, and tested every one physically, mentally and emotionally.

“Somehow Wayne and I made it to the top and to our immense pleasure everybody else in our group also made it onto Kilimanjaro’s plateau – a remarkable group achievement. Climbing Kili, however, was only half the battle; having got up there, we then had to get off and back to civilisation. The big difference was that we took nearly five-and-half days to get to the top, but just one day to get down. For me personally that was by far the hardest part - I have never been so pleased to see a finish line in my life!”

Since the death of his baby granddaughter, Lillian Florence in 2004 to a rare heart problem, Derek has raised over £35,000 while his wife, Sharon, and daughter, Amelia, have also raised above £15,000 towards the hospital site.

For his latest challenge, Derek and Wayne aimed to raise £1 for every metre of “Kili”; a combined total of £11,990.

Wayne said: “We have both exceeded our monetary target of £5,895 and are very close to achieving nearly £7,000 each! We would genuinely like to thank everybody who have supported us and been so generous with their donations.” Derek added: “Wayne and I are probably closer now than before. You do not share a relatively small tent on the side of a seriously high mountain, often in sub-zero temperatures and not face challenges. I do not think we had one cross word or disagreed on anything throughout the 10 days we were away from home.”