Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Steve Prescott Foundation squad to embark on Kilimanjaro climb
6:00am Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
A DOZEN adventurers will begin the challenge of a lifetime today when they stride out to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for the Steve Prescott Foundation (SPF).
The squad – a mixture of teachers, IT workers, lawyers and engineers – are aiming to complete the journey up and down the Tanzania peak in just five days.
A more common target is seven to nine days, with acclimatisation days in between, but the team – in keeping with the mantra of the charity – aim to push the boundaries.
When plans to scale the African peak were announced earlier this year, Steve Prescott, 39, had hoped to join the adventure.
However, the health of the cancer battler – who is undergoing treatment in Oxford – meant his involvement was ruled out.
The party also suffered a late blow when Paul Sculthorpe, a key figure for a number of the SPF’s endurance challenges, was forced to withdraw from the journey.
Nevertheless, the climbers, who flew out of Manchester Airport on Tuesday, hope to form a collective spirit that will drive them on.
Ade Cunliffe, 39, originally from Hawes Avenue, Carr Mill, told the Star: “We’re raring to go, although the nerves have started to kick in for everyone.
“We are a bunch of novices – but when you think of why we are doing it and what Steve has endured for seven years hopefully we can put five days of our lives into helping him and get through it.
“My main fear is the altitude sickness – it is something you can’t prepare for and you have no idea if it will happen.”
The squad has been doing sessions at Saints’ Cowley training complex, where an oxygen chamber recreates the conditions of exercising at altitude.
But the team, who will be accompanied by specialist guides, accept the likelihood that some members will suffer sickness that will prevent them completing the challenge.
Mike Denning, 43, SPF chairman, said: “The difference with this compared to the many of the other challenges the charity has done – such as the marathons and the bike rides – is that you can train for them.
“With this you can’t prepare for the altitude or the conditions. It will be the furthest we have travelled for a challenge and is up there with the most ambitious things we have done.
“I speak with Steve and his wife Linzi regularly.
“He has wished everyone the best, and if anyone is looking for inspiration to get up this mountain it is there.”
Among the crew are Bleak Hill Primary School head teacher Ian Wellens, 47, his deputy Karen Davison, 43, and teaching assistant Ruth Larsen, 47.
Alison Corkill, 46, deputy head teacher of Rainford C of E, is another teacher taking part.
Ash Sandford, 33, an aircraft engineer from Haydock, and Eccleston’s Sarah Williams, 33, director of legal services at Accord, complete the St Helens contingent.
They are joined by Trevor Smith, 43, and Anthony Scully, 46, from Wigan, Paul Roberts, 36, from Runcorn, and Jimmy Rothwell, of York.