Could you start 2017 standing on top of Mount Kilimanjaro for Thorpe Hall Hospice?
That’s exactly how Peterborough Fitness instructor Amy Valentine kicked off her 2016.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve Amy Valentine was standing – almost – on top of Africa ready for a final nine hour push to the summit to see the sunrise.
Fitness instructor Amy was one of a 30-strong group trekking to the top of Kilimanjaro to raise money for Sue Ryder.
Amy had very personal reasons for taking part in the challenge – her grandad George was cared for at Thorpe Hall 17 years ago.
And he was in her mind as she finally reached Stella Point at the top of Africa’s highest mountain – a 5,895 metre climb soon after sunrise on January 1.
“I expected climbing Kilimanjaro to be hard but it was even harder than that. But it was an incredible experience – I loved it,” said Amy. “The thought of Grandad spurred me on.”
In fact she loved it so much the 24-year-old is considering taking part in the next Sue Ryder Kilimanjaro trek, taking place at the end of this year – again reaching the summit on New Year’s Day.
“You just get a whole different perspective. As you fly into the area on a little plane you are at the same level as the mountain peak and then, five days later, you are on top of it and looking down into the clouds. And the night skies are just amazing – one night I sat outside my tent and just stared at the sky for 45 minutes. I’d never seen anything like it.”
So far, Amy has raised £2,700 for Thorpe Hall through sponsorship, bucket collections and holding events at Feel Good Fitness gym in Peterborough where she works, with more money to collect.
Now she’s urging others to follow in her footsteps – quite literally – and to take part in the next trek.
“The physical challenge is huge – I suffered altitude sickness and barely ate for three days and coming down on shale and gravel paths was really tough,” said Amy. “And mentally it was gruelling too – we all had a bit of a breakdown at one point or another. But the sense of achievement is just unbeatable.”
It costs £295 to register for Sue Ryder’s Kilimanjaro Trek 2016 and there’s a fundraising target of £3,250. Please call the fundraising team on 01733 225999 or visit the website www.sueryder.org