A HUSBAND and daughter duo from Malvern who have a combined age of 124 are now safely back on terra firma after successfully climbing the tallest freestanding mountain on earth.
Jonathan Bailey, 75, and Phillippa Cook, 49, hiked to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of their much loved wife and mother, Angela Bailey, who died of cancer in December 2015.
And so far the pair have raised more than £2,600 for St Richard’s Hospice – who provide free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses – where Angela spent her last few days.
Jonathan and Phillippa made it to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain on Sunday, February 19 having started the climb the previous Wednesday (February 15).
The trip was made even more poignant to husband and daughter as Angela had climbed Kilimanjaro when she lived in Northern Rhodesia – now Zambia – when she was in her mid twenties shortly before she met her husband to be.
Jonathan said : “Angela and I met in Northern Rhodesia when she was working at the African Hospital and I was working in the Northern Rhodesian Police.
“Our favourite National Park was Amboseli from which we had spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“In later years when passing Kilimanjaro en route to Mombasa, Angela would often comment that she had climbed it and so – many years later – I now feel as though we have finally climbed it together.”
The climb was certainly not without its challenges with the summit height standing at 5,995m (19,341 feet).
To put this in perspective, Mount Everest, stands at 8,848m (29,029 feet) – just over 2,905m higher.
With both Everest Base Camps – south and north – below the summit of Kilimanjaro and with trekkers able to reach the summit in four to five days, the rapid ascent makes it both difficult and dangerous to hike with an increased risk of altitude sickness.
Jonathan added: “The trek was certainly physically demanding and we both suffered from altitude sickness; we took the Machame Route, renowned as one of the hardest and longest routes, as we camped under canvas.
“Phillippa suffers from a fear of heights so as we climbed the Barranco Wall – known for presenting problems for hikers who are afraid of heights – it was certainly a massive challenge for Phillippa but one which she overcame.”
“I was so pleased to be able to raise funds for St Richard’s; the wonderful compassion, kindness and care that all the staff showed to my wife was shared with our entire family and helped us through a very difficult time.”
To donate to Jonathan and Phillippa’s fund visit http://www.justgiving.com/Phillippa-Cook.