Wednesday 24 January 2018

Hunts hand over €6,264 to charity

Anne and Francesca Hunt celebrate reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro
Anne and Francesca Hunt celebrate reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

MOTHER and daughter team Anne and Francesca Hunt recently presented a cheque for €6,264 from their Kilimanjaro trek to the Bray Post Polio Support Group at the Glenview Hotel.

'We are keenly aware of the work this small organisation does in supporting Polio survivors throughout Ireland,' said Francesca. 'We hope this money will help them allow Polio survivors to live in their own homes, with dignity and independence, for as long as possible.'

The duo went on their adventure in Tanzania in June with a group that included another mother-daughter team.

'We gelled really well as a group and it was nice to have such a mix of personalities and experiences,' said Francesca.

It was Anne's first time to visit an African country and, before the hike, spent some time in the city of Arusha.

The hike had its challenges, with anti-altitude medication, safety checks and the heat of the rainforest.

'People have asked us if there was a point on the trip when we thought that we couldn't go any further, well day one was that point!' said Francesca. 'We walked for five hours with a short break for food through the rainforest in the heat gaining 1,200 metres in height. Both of us crawled into our tent that night and thought "If I've another four days like this I won't make it!"'

The next morning brought a view of the mountain which served as motivation and on they slogged.

Every day was different with different terrain underfoot and changing landscape. 'It was surreal to be walking looking back down on the clouds.'

'On arriving at basecamp we saw a physically strong looking man being carried down from the summit by two porters, reminding us that what we were attempting to do was serious,' said Francesca. The next morning the two ladies were put in to different groups leaving at different times.

'Nobody's success was guaranteed as physical fitness and altitude will affect everyone differently. If you are lucky enough to summit, you only spend 10 minutes at the top so the chances of myself and Mam meeting were slim.'

'My group, Team Simba, made it to the Uhuru Peak 5,898 metres at 6.15 a.m. that morning,' said Francesca. 'It was an incredible feeling and an amazing experience. On the way up our guide was pointing out the glacier to our left and other things of interest but at that height it was too much effort to actually look around and I found it made me a bit dizzy too.'

When the sun came up she really appreciated what she had achieved. 'My most memorable moment from the summit though, was turning to see my mother approaching with a smile on her face.'

The pair shared a priceless moment before their descent. 'After two hours we were back at the tent and I was crying from exhaustion.'

After a quick nap it was time to pack up and move on to camp. 'By the time we reached the bottom we were utterly shattered.

'Nothing could really prepare you for the climb and until you do it, you won't comprehend what's involved physically and mentally.'

Bray People

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