A FATHER, businessman and adventurer all rolled into one is leading a team on a trek to raise money for children in Africa.
Simon Oakes, of the Fairways, Winsford, has put together a team of business associates from across Europe to climb the largest free-standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro.
Each member is aiming to collect at least £5,000 to boost funding for the South African Children’s Resource for Education and Development (SACRED) charity, which provides sanitation for homes and education for children living in squalor.
‘Education is the key, along with changing children's expectations,’ said Simon, a business development manager for manufacturer Grundfos.
‘We have convinced staff to donate money from their salaries to fund a child through education.
‘On my travels I have seen that places like India and China enjoy lots of commercial investment because they have raw materials and an abundance of educated young people to employ, however Africa is consistently passed by. I decided that the time has come for us to recognise the potential of this nation.’
The 6,000ft, week-long climb starts on September 10, and the former Verdin High School pupil is keen to drum up support. He said: ‘We are expecting the Leicester Tigers to supply a player to climb with us, and Sky Sports to run a story on the climb.
‘Granada TV has also been contacted, and we are discussing the possibility of a documentary.’
Simon’s firm has opened factories in Johannesburg and Tanzania and has helped build a school and dozens of new homes. He added: ‘We rent housing to locals, and use the rent to employ more locals to build more housing, so more people can rent a house with water and sanitation. It’s self-sustaining – we are moving people from the slums into purpose-built accommodation, giving them an education and a chance in life.’
To sponsor Simon log onto www.justgiving.com/simonoakes.