Conquering Mount Kilimanjaro: A Fundraising Success Story

We are excited to share the incredible success of a group of friends who took on the challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to fundraise for their favourite local charities, including Home-Start Royston, Buntingford & South Cambridgeshire, The Sick Children’s Trust, and the Isabel Hospice. As a follow-up to our previous blog titled “Fundraising for Home-Start: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for a Purpose,” we are delighted to report on the achievements of this group and their efforts to raise money for these important causes.

How the idea to climb Mount Kilimanjaro came about

The idea of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro initially came up to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of the team members. He is a highly-tuned athlete who was seeking a fresh challenge in life. He invited Phil, a friend and supporter of Home-Start, to join the team. As an ex-sportsperson who is nearly 20 their elder, Phil couldn’t resist such a challenge.

The team decided to make the most of their challenge by setting up a fundraising page to raise money for three local charities that help support people less fortunate and who rely heavily on the charities’ support during times of great difficulty. Each member of the team has a personal connection to the charities in some form or another. So, they set up a fundraising page, with any money raised to be split evenly between all three.

From summit to success – Phil’s story

The early morning starts were relentless. Our group leader and head guide Lyndsey ran a strict regime that required the whole team to be prompt and ready to trek at the start of every morning. Invariably, we’d be up and about between 05:30 and 06:00. Lyndsey ran a tight ship, and to be fair, it worked, and most of us achieved our goal.  

Before we could experience the overwhelming emotion of summit elation, the excitement of the ascent to the top (Uhuru Peak) began in the dark at midnight. The next 5 hours were spent climbing in the dark with only our head torches to illuminate the path ahead. The sky above was clear, and the stars shone brightly. As you cast an eye up and down the mountain, you’d see a long line of head torches both ahead and behind you, and you knew that each and every light carried the aspirations of their respective owners. You soon learn that each person had their own personal reason for attempting the summit, and everyone drew upon those reasons to provide them with that little bit of extra motivation. As the night wore on, we finally reached Stella Point at around 05:00hrs. From this vantage point, we were treated to the most spectacular sunrise as day broke, revealing the most breathtaking of views down into Tanzania and across the mountain.   

 From Stella Point, we still had a further one hour to reach the summit of Uhuru Peak at 5895m. As you walk, you soon realise that you’re walking alongside the vast crater rim. The hour passed quickly, and we finally arrived at our destination. At this point, summit elation consumes you emotionally, and you really do feel on top of the world.  

It was during the summit night ascent that all of our water bottles froze due to the cold; there was just one drink that remained perfectly satisfactory. I had carried my late father’s silver hip flask containing a fine port all the way to the top to ensure we could crown our mini victory in some style. Suffice it to say, we shared a small and brief passing of the port at the top, and this brought much joy to the group. A few laughs along the way too.   

I enjoyed getting to know the people I had the privilege of walking with and summiting with. As a group, including our Team Leader and Team Doctor, we bonded together immediately, knowing that we’d need each other’s support at some point along our journey together to the very top. The strength and depth of our team was nothing short of remarkable, and the individuals within it were the nicest people you’re likely to meet.  

Without hesitation, I would recommend a challenge like this to anyone thinking of doing it. It is a proper worldly adventure that tests both your mental and physical resilience to its very core. You discover new depths to your own inner strength, and you see this played out on the mountain right across the whole team, a team that is so incredibly supportive of each other. In situations such as this, the human spirit is very much alive and revealing its very best to all. I loved it, and I know others would too. I caveat that you do need to be reasonably fit (by no means super fit – I’m certainly not) and, of course, in good health.

Thinking back on how I felt after the climb… I was elated and mightily relieved that all four of us achieved our goal to the summit and then made it safely back down the mountain. I think everyone felt immense pride in reaching not just the summit but showing our families and friends what can be achieved when you apply yourself. Even I, “the older man” of the group, made it to the top, pretty much-meaning anyone can! In addition to the wonderful experience of summiting together with friends, we’ve also managed to raise a lot for our 3 chosen charities, and that, too, brings a huge smile to us all. I also hope that all those who have supported us and our chosen charities, Home-Start Royston, Buntingford and South Cambridgeshire, Isobel Hospice and The Sick Children’s Trust, are smiling too.

So far, we’ve raised over £12,000 to be shared between our 3 charities. All four of us, Birnie, Stefan, James and I, are so proud of our achievement and so grateful to all those who have supported us and our charities of choice. Thank you so much, everyone!  

Inspiring others

Through their extraordinary adventure, Phil and his friends not only pushed their own limits but also surpassed their initial fundraising goal. They understood that by undertaking such an immense feat, they could engage their community and capture the attention of others, driving them to donate towards these causes and raise awareness about the vital work these charities do, encouraging others to get involved and make a difference.

How you can get involved

One of the easiest ways to show your support is by making a donation. The team’s Giving Wheel fundraising page has been extended until 20th December, so whether big or small, every contribution counts and helps.

Share with your friends, family, and colleagues. Use your voice and social media platforms to raise awareness and help support these three amazing charities.

Home-Start Royston, Buntingford & South Cambridgeshire provides support for families with children under nine who need a helping hand; they may be struggling with post-natal depression, isolation, physical and mental health problems, bereavement and many other issues.

The Sick Children’s Trust provides accommodation for families with seriously ill children receiving treatment in the hospital, giving families one less thing to worry about by offering them a place to stay and someone to talk to, free of charge, just minutes from their child’s bedside when they are poorly.

The Isabel Hospice provides support and care to people in eastern Hertfordshire who are affected by life-limiting illnesses through their Hospice at Home, In-Patient Unit, Community Team, Living Well with Isabel programme and our Family and Bereavement support service.

Feeling adventurous and up for a challenge yourself?

Would you like to help raise funds for Home-Start? You could organise a charity run, host a bake sale, or even plan your own adventurous expedition. You can make a tangible difference in the lives of families in need by rallying your own community and raising funds for Home-Start.

And we can help you with setting up a fundraising page, promoting your fundraiser on our social media channels and helping to get the word out. Call and speak to Paula today at 01763 262262 or email

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