THREE old men are celebrating after scaling more than 19,000ft to prove that ‘you’re never too old for a challenge’.
Cheshire West and Chester Cllr Alan McKie, 71, senior council officer Alan Slater, 66, and their friend Ian Hamilton-Burke, 68, battled some of the toughest terrain on the planet as they trekked up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise more than £5,000 to pay for an apprentice to help make elderly residents’ lives easier in Cheshire.
The trio battled icy winds and freezing temperatures as they trekked for five days to reach the summit of the African mountain before taking a further two days to get back to base camp.
Grandfather-of-four Alan McKie, of Sandringham Avenue in Helsby, already climbed the famous mountain 18 months ago to raise thousands of pounds for the Tim Parry-Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace, but said reaching the summit for the second time had proven much more challenging.
“This time it was quite a challenge, I’d forgotten how tough it is,” said Cllr McKie, member for Weaver and Cuddington.
“It’s the altitude that is the biggest challenge, it saps your energy and you can’t think properly. You don’t realise how weak it makes you.
“It will be nice to see someone have the chance of a future career from this.”
And Alan Slater, who has been climbing in the UK since the 1960s, but has never scaled a mountain in Africa, said: “We are all conscious of youth unemployment and providing better care for the elderly and we also wanted to prove that age is no barrier.
“We climbed through the night and got to the summit at dawn and it was beautiful, and bitterly cold.”
The trio, who called themselves ‘Three Old Men on a Mountain’ for the challenge, were greeted with rapturous applause when they visited the Weaver Vale Housing Trust’s HQ, where their money will go towards paying for an apprentice for the Independent Living Team for the next three years.
Steve Jennings, chief executive of the trust, thanked the three men for their dedication and efforts, saying: “We are so grateful to all three men for taking on this tremendous challenge.
“For three people to put themselves through so much to raise money that will help us to nurture the next generation of talented young professionals in our independent living team is absolutely fantastic.
“We are all very proud and thankful for their efforts.”
For more information on the charity climb and the work of Weaver Vale Housing Trust’s Independent Living Team, visit the trust’s YouTube page at www.youtube.co.uk/wvht2002.
If you would like to make a donation to the Three Old Men on a Montaun challenge visit uk.virgingiving.com/team/3oldmenclimb4wvht.