A group of hikers from Armagh and Newry has raised a total of £52,523 for Southern Area Hospice Services after conquering Mt Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest free-standing mountain.
The group climbed 5,983m to the summit of the mountain in Tanzania in a gruelling eight-day challenge in September.
They braved extreme temperatures ranging from 27 degrees to -18 degrees.
Emma Mullen, the founder of thehappinessplace hiking group and organiser of the climb, said: “Kilimanjaro has been on my wish list for as long as I can remember. Alongside an incredible team from Newry and Armagh, we summited the world’s highest freestanding mountain at 6.34am on Friday the 21st of September just in time to watch the sun rise over Tanzania.
“This hike has been the biggest challenge of our lives, made possible by our amazing Sherpas and guides. I am grateful for the friendships and to have raised over £52,000 is beyond all our expectations. We would like to thank our families, friends, local businesses and our local communities who supported our fundraising for the Southern Area Hospice, a charity close to our hearts.”
Laura Rowntree, fundraising officer at Southern Area Hospice, said: “We cannot thank this wonderful group of hikers enough for choosing to support our charity whilst taking on this once in a lifetime challenge.
“They worked so hard to prepare for this trek both physically and mentally and it is just a credit to them all to be able to come home to celebrate their success and present us with this remarkable donation.”
The hospice said the money raised will help it to continue to provide the highest standard of specialist palliative care to individuals with complex life-limiting conditions.
“Southern Area Hospice Services are thankful to the local community for their ongoing support and generosity in their fundraising efforts every year,” a spokesperson said.
The charity provides wrap-around support for patients’ physical, emotional, and social needs, and also supports their families through this process. It provides this support through an inpatient unit, community services and bereavement support services.
Southern Area Hospice services are available to adults who live primarily within the Southern Trust area, including the main towns of Newry, Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon and Dungannon.
This year, Southern Area Hospice Services needs to raise £3.6 million to enable it to continue to provide its services, which equates to £300,000 per month or £410 per hour.