MEN's climb for charity

A Manchester Evening News team this week began climbing up Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, in aid of Kirsty’s Appeal.

The eight-strong team, led by editor Paul Horrocks and deputy managing editor Mark Rix, flew out to Kenya on Monday.

They
are putting months of training in the Pennines into practice, spending
six days trekking up to the 20,000 feet summit to raise money to secure
the future of the Francis House Children’s Hospice in Didsbury.

It
is hoped the team will raise thousands of pounds towards the £5m needed
for the cause, spearheaded by Kirsty Howard, a young girl with a rare
heart condition. At present £3.6m has been raised and the aim is to
generate the full amount in time for Kirsty’s 10th birthday next month.

Horrocks is editing the paper throughout the climb via his laptop.

Before
heading up the mountain he said: “For me this will be my biggest
personal adventure. I don’t know if my knees will hold out or if I’ll
be affected by altitude sickness, but people in their 60s, 70s and 80s
have climbed it – I’ve read so much about it I’ve gone dizzy.”

On
Tuesday Horrocks emailed the first of his daily diaries for publication
in the paper and its website after completing the first day’s trekking
successfully.

He said the 18km route began as a gradual slope, but “soon became steep and thick with clagging mud”.

Horrocks
described the lush vegetation, the smell of curry leaves, the
“awe-inspiring high trees covered with lichens” and how the team
spotted a monkey up in the trees.

The MEN editor aims to
broadcast from the summit using an iridium satellite phone. He is
accompanied by two cameramen for a two-part documentary to be screened
on ITV Granada in October.

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