Tears for Horrocks as Manchester Evening News team reaches summit of Kilimanjaro

Sarah Lagan
 
Despite the severe physical demands, lack of
oxygen and even the near death of a porter the Manchester Evening News
team have finally reached the end of their gruelling trek to the summit
of Mount Kilimanjaro.
 
The eight fundraisers have endured a six-day
hike and have raised £70,000 in aid of the Francis House hospice in
Didsbury, a cause spearheaded by a Kirsty Howard, a young girl with a
serious heart condition.
 
When Kirsty, who had been following the team’s
progress, heard they had reached the top she said: “Oh . . . My God.
Tell them they are the eight best lads in the whole world, and I’m
really looking forward to seeing them all.”
 
On their arrival the men unravelled their “M.E.N Kilimanjaro for Kirsty” banner which brought tears to their eyes.
 
Men editor Paul Horrocks said: “The elation and
the adrenalin rush boosted my spirits and when we unfurled the banner
it was a huge emotional rush. I had just received a text message from
my wife Linda on holiday in China and my daughter-in-law Sara who is
expecting our next grandchild in September. That was more than enough
to turn on the tears. Looking into the crater, now just brown dust, you
could only imaging the fire and lava flow that this volcano once spewed
out to create its enormous height.”
 
Their final stint to the summit of the mountain,
which is 19,340 feet above sea level, began at 10pm on Friday from
Barafucamp. Towards the top of the mountain, at the entrance to the
crater of Kibo, Horrocks said he almost stopped and asked the group to
leave him there but added that when his guide Elias said “Paul, if you
lie there, you will never touch the sky on top of Kilimanjaro,” he
found the strength to carry on.
 
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