Ralph said “I’ve agreed to have William Hill sponsor a team to climb Kilimanjaro, but we will be raising money for Project Africa. I want you to lead it”.
It’s high, isn’t it? Snow at the top, even in summer, even at the Equator...’, the little voice in my head says. ‘No, it’ll be fine, it’s a long walk.... yes, but up a big hill and in thin air....’
“Sure, Ralph. Chance of life-time. I’d love to”.
That was a conversation I had in about December last year, when October 2013 seemed a long way away. Now it is very close, just three weeks till we start.
Five colleagues and I (and Robbie Savage our charity ambassador) are going to climb the largest mountain in Africa. We are joining an industry charity expedition raising money for the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, but since William Hill paid for us and made a substantial donation to it, for us the effort and money-raising are for Project Africa, our sponsored school in Ol Maisor, Laikipia, which you must know about given you are reading this...(if not, read the blogs, see what’s on the site, etc).
The school is, it feels, in the middle of nowhere, on a river, in semi-desert, hours from anywhere. I had the genuine pleasure to be part of the first team that went out last October to help build a library for the school. I learned that it is really a focal point for the communities that live around it, and also how much of an impact some focused work or money can make to a place like that, to the lives of the children who benefit directly now and those who will benefit in the future, and then the wider impact that a thriving school can have for the area.
WH committed to help for a long time, and it was important to me to feel that we weren’t dabbling. I am glad to say we aren’t, with our fourth team going out later in October to keep the work going. I am also glad that I can do something that I have always wanted to do (gulp) and do it in a good cause, and raise some money hopefully.
So are we ready? Yes I think so. Arms full of vaccines, malaria tablets bought, boots broken in, and ...and... it’s still a mighty big hill. Wish us luck.
My colleagues will be posting further blogs in the run up to departure and whilst we are on the mountain. Stay tuned.
Any donations that you might care to make can be made via our fund raising website https://mydonate.bt.com/events/kilimanjaropa/96496 or send them to me c/o William Hill PLC, Greenside House, 50 Station Road, London N22 7TP.