Intrepid duo conquer Kilimanjaro

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.

Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, 12:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, 12:38 pm
Derek and Wayne at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

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.”