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Fundraising for The Ayrshire Hospice
raised of £5,000 target
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Event: The Ayrshire Hospice - Kilimanjaro Trek 2010, on 19 March 2010
Participants: Graeme Strawhorn
The Ayrshire Hospice

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Our team successfully made it to the summit of Kilimanjaro on the morning of Thursday 25th March 2010.  It was a phenomenal and memorable experience from start to finish...... did I miss our gruelling....


Thank You so Much to all my supporters - without you I would not have reached my goal.  Once again I give my deepest and sincerest thanks to you all.  Where would I be in life without such great friends and family.... Thank you.


an excerpt from my journal on summit night:

‘Summit Night is here everyone in the trekking party seems quiet. It is a daunting thought that the most gruelling part of our journey has arrived. I am running behind slightly as I organise my rucksack for the trek ahead. As I leave my tent the weather has started to come in and there is a chill in the wind; It’s below freezing...

It is now shortly before midnight as we set off in single file aided only by the light of our head torches. The landscape around is cold and black and all you concentrate on is the footing in front. At the moment I am trekking in a party which includes all of my fellow Hospice supporters but this soon disperses into smaller groups and each of us deal with the upcoming challenge of the ascent ahead. The wind is getting up now and the snow begins to fall. Very quickly this leads into blizzard conditions. My gloves soak very quickly and I put my hands in my pockets and clench my fists repeatedly to keep my hands warm. The torchlight zig zags along the terrain above disappearing over every rocky ridge we climb. I am accompanied by my trekking friend Kathleen and Julie; a girl from Wales. I myself am very silent as a traipse through the now ankle deep snow thinking good thoughts of my family, friends and colleagues thinking how much they have supported me, and how they are really routing for me to reach this once in a lifetime goal. My family wrote me letters to read on summit night. My Sister-in- Law enclosed a family photograph. As silly as it sounds I clutch it in my soaking hand for some reason it gives me extra strength to keep moving. Tears are in my eyes now as the weather worsens and I wonder if I truly can carry on. The temperature has dropped dramatically and the snow doesn’t seem to be shifting. A gentle shove from my fellow trekkers, a piece of tablet, a chocolate bar; all contribute to my determination to carry on. I hear that some trekkers have had to turn back, some due to altitude, others due to frost bite, I wiggle my toes.... do I have frost bite?....

I carry on regardless and after what seems forever.... the snowy landscape appears to lighten around me, the landscape seems more visible. Up ahead I notice Chris, Ian, David and company. As I turn around in the snow I can see out over the African Landscape. The lights of Moshi Town become visible as the clouds begin to disperse. The landing strip of Kilimanjaro Int’l is also visible. In the distance to the east the sun finally begins to show, its orange glare stretches over the curve of the earths surface. As we carry on our trekking path becomes brighter and the temperature begins to rise. I discover we only have a short time to Stella Point at 5700m. The sun is very quick to rise and the landscape around us is truly breathtaking. Up ahead I can see the rest of the guys from the Hospice Trekking Party. Tired and exhausted I stumble over the rim of Stella’s point and breakdown in tears with a sense of achievement. After a short time (and a well earned cup of tea) we set off to complete the final ascent of Kilimanjaro toward Uhura Peak. It’s a daunting thought but I am determined to reach the top. I feel exhausted and along the way the pressures of altitude begin to show as extreme fatigue hits me hard and I struggle through the knee deep snow. I fall into Kathleen walking in front. For the last few hundred metres they help me along to the famous Uhura Peak sign. The glare from the sun on the snow is very strong I’ve forgotten my sun glasses. I am now only a few hundred metres from the highest point in Africa. With the assistance of my fellow trekkers and porters I finally reached the 5895m summit around 7.30 8am. My breath is short and I am very tired but still manage to build up enough energy to say ‘Cheese’....’

As we progress back down towards Stella Point Kathleen is overwhelmed. Her husband John - presumed to have turned back due to frostbite- is walking towards us with Steve Hyde heading for the summit. Everyone's emotions run high at this point. The true sense of achievement is overwhelming and to think that one day I can turn round to my children (one day) and say ' I've climbed that mountain'...

We would like to congratulate each and every one of the trekkers involved and thank them all most sincerely for their efforts and determination in this trek. Some did not realise just how challenging it would be In fact I don’t think anyone did!!!

The trekkers are holding a celebratory evening on Thursday 29th April to share their tales and perhaps plan yet another exciting adventure..... but I’m sure... for now... they’ll just want to relax....

Congratulations to all of my fellow Kilimanjaro Trekkers 2010 Well Done!!!


Thank you for taking the time to visit my Just Giving page

So it's now official I will be climbing Kilimanjaro between 19th - 28th March 2010.  Although this is a daunting thought, I think the experience is going to be amazing and whilst I make the adventurous trek I will be raising money for a fantastic charity - The Ayrshire Hospice.

I work within the Fundraising Team with The Ayrshire Hospice and know the difficulties of fundraising faced during this current economic climate.  I am very pleased and excited to have joined the Kilimanjaro Trek Group and look forward to playing my part in raising much needed funds.  The Ayrshire Hospice provides care for the terminally ill within the Ayrshire community, and through effective Fundraising all services are provided at no cost to patients or their families.

The trek involves 6 days of trekking through different surroundings and changing climates throughout the , including the rainforest, ravines, volcanic plains, plateaus and steep & challenging climbs.  This is going to be a chance in a lifetime experience for me - something that will truly be unforgettable...

I have commenced my fundraising initiatives and will be producing a number of events to help raise funds for The Ayrshire Hospice.  I have great support from my family, friends and colleagues all of which helped me to make my decision in joining this trek.  May I thank each and every one of you for your kind support and hope you can back me in any means possible in my Kilimanjaro Quest.

My deepest and sincerest thanks for your support.....



(Donating through Just Giving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with Just Giving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.)


Saturday 24th October 2009           Race Night & Disco     Mauchline Scout Hall                7.30pm

Thursday 26th November 2009     Pub Quiz                         Black Bull Inn, Mauchline        8.00pm

Thursday 30th December 2009     Pub Quiz                          Black Bull Inn, Mauchline        8.00pm

Saturday 6th February 2010          Gents Night                      Fairburn Hotel, Mauchline       7.00pm

Saturday 6th March 2010               Wine Tasting Night         Mauchline Scout Hall                7.00pm                

Friday 12th March 2010                  Finale Night/Quiz            The Black Bull, Mauchline        7.30pm

About the charity

The Ayrshire Hospice

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Our charity cares for adults in Ayrshire and Arran with life-limiting illnesses. We help them live as actively as possible to the end of their lives, however long that may be. Hospice care is open to all. It’s free for patients but it’s not free to provide. So we need to raise over £4M each year.

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