While friends at home may be sharing Valentine chocolates or a romantic meal, Elliot Simmonds of Whaley Bridge will be toiling up the higher parts of Kilimanjaro towards the snow on the 19,336ft summit. The mountain in Tanzania is Africa’s highest.
Elliot, 23, senior marketing executive with DJS Research, is doing this strenuous climb to raise money for the children’s cancer charity CLIC-Sargent. It provides holidays for young cancer patients.
The climb is in memory of Elliot’s Auntie Deborah, sister of his mum Linda, who died of breast cancer in her 40s. And Elliot is also doing it for two people he works with, who each have a very young child who survived cancer.
Elliot flies out from the UK to Tanzania next Friday (7 February). After a day of rest in equatorial heat, he and a party of 12 with guides start the climb on Sunday 9 February. In the party are sisters of Elliot’s best friend, Lucy and Kate Flory, both in their 20s.
It takes six days going up, passing through seven different climate zones. They start with intense heat, and include dry heat and a rain forest before the frost. The summit is snow-capped all year round, with an average temperature of minus 18. Experts call it ‘like travelling from the equator to Antarctica in a matter of days’. Elliot has been keeping fit running through his lunch break at DJS in Strines, near New Mills. He did some earlier training in the Brecon Beacons, where the SAS trains.
Elliot has packed some of his favourite foods, super noodles and Kendal mint cake. He is taking a camera, but no mobile phone. Part of the support team will be cooking meals for the climbers.
Elliot says: “I have had about £500 of marvellous donations from DJS, from the Goyt Inn, my local, and from Whaley Bridge cricket club. I coach the junior team there, and play in the second team.”
His target is £1,000. If you wish to support him, google ‘kili for CLIC/Elliot’ or go to this link. You can make a donation on line or email esimmonds@djsresearch Elliot says: “I’ve elected to pay for the entire trip myself – no donations will go towards paying for the climb, the trip or anything like that. It’s all going directly to charity.”