A gruelling 6-day trek by a team of nine people, climbing up Kilimanjaro, one of the world’s most famous and highest mountains in Africa, has taken raising money for the Oakland Foundation to a whole new level, with an amazing £10,575 now raised for the charity. Every penny of sponsorship money raised by the team from distribution firm Oakland international will be used to support the charity’s work which is based around Health and Nutrition, Education and Sport activities through a number of local youth organisations which support underprivileged children in the Redditch area and Bromsgrove district, with money raised through donations from Oakland International team members, their friends and family, as well as business customers, suppliers and retailers. Oakland International business support analyst and key climb organiser, Keith Davies, explained: “Kilimanjaro was the most physically and mentally demanding challenge I have ever undertaken. “We walked the Rongai route which although quieter, is the most scenic. The summit day was the most demanding physically for all of us as we started the ascent at midnight, reaching the summit at 6.30am, before then walking back down again to base camp, which took another 3 hours prior to yet another 4 hour trek to our next camp. A few people found it difficult going due to the lack of oxygen and altitude sickness at the top, but it was all worth it in the end.” The trek was mentally demanding for the team and they were unable to wash or shower, and with no proper toileting facilities, everything was dusty, dirty and grimy which made many situations rather challenging. With excellent help from their guides and porters, everyone summated and the bulk of the team reached their personal goal of reaching Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Kilimanjaro. Dean Attwell, MD of Oakland International said: “The team spirit was excellent, with everyone united on a common goal. Whilst the challenge was huge in getting to the Uhuru peak, and the time spent at the top was only around 15 minutes, the breathtaking scenery, camaraderie and feeling of accomplishment will stay with us all forever.” “It was a very tiring climb,” said Keith, “but if you maintain a positive attitude, have trained ready for the challenges ahead, and you are determined to get to the top, it’s definitely worth giving the mountain a go!!” Previous fundraising events have seen the team take part in an It’s a Knockout Challenge and a sponsored Sky Dive which raised in excess of £5,000 each; their latest challenge has now smashed all previous sponsorship targets. The highest free-standing mountain in the world, Kilimanjaro attracts intrepid trekkers from across the globe each hoping to reach its summit some 5895m above sea level. Edith Hurst-Earl commented: “The climb would not have been possible without the help of our incredible team of guides and porters. The Oakland team were a constant source of laughter and such a warm bunch of people without whom this expedition would not have been as much fun, nor would it have been so rewarding. A huge thank you to everyone for sponsoring us as 100% of all donations will go to support the work of the Oakland Foundation with local under privileged children.” The Oakland Team involved Oakland International’s MD Dean Attwell, business support analyst Keith Davies, warehouse operative Danny Hamer, customer support executive Edith Hurst-Earl joined by her acupuncturist husband Ken whose task was to focus his specialist holistic therapy skills on keeping the team’s bodies, minds and souls intact. The team also included a number of Oakland’s essential suppliers including Stuart Starkey of Starkey Electrical, Chris Shuker of Central IT Systems, also Cory Winstanley of British Transport Police and Patrick Shuker of Avelo Mortgage Products. Donations can still be made by emailing marketing and events co-ordinator Hayley Smith at [email protected] or by calling 01527 593953.