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96 %
raised of £4,000 target
by 42 supporters
Jennifer Riach avatar
Jennifer Riach

Jennifer Riach, MECA Services South-West, is:

Fundraising for Sparks

96 %
raised of £4,000 target
by 42 supporters
  • Team members: Jennifer Riach
  • Event: Climbing Kilimanjaro for Sparks, 03 Feb 2011 to 12 Feb 2011


We fund pioneering medical research to improve the lives of children & babies

Charity Registration No. 1003825 (England & Wales), SCO39482 (Scotland)


I have just climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, the world's largest free standing volcano! There is only a 30% success rate in doing this. I was very ill and nearly didn't make it.

I have until the end of the Spring to hand all money raised for Sparks. Please, please help me reach my fundraising target!

Take a look through my photos. Little baby Thomas Dye, my mechanic Paul's son, was born 3 months premature. Paul got that dreaded phone call at work each time little Thomas almost died - and we all lived through it. On a couple of occasions little Tom Thumb (as he is more fondly known by me), did actually stop breathing!

The odds were against baby Thomas. None of us really thought he would make it. But remarkably he did. Had it not been for the equipment and research funded by Sparks I doubt Thomas would be alive today!

So imagine if you will being told that your child has cancer, or damaged lungs, or perhaps facing life in a wheelchair. Imagine the difference you can make by supporting Sparks.  Every day 70 babies are born in the UK with a life-threatening condition or an illness that will affect them and their families for life.  Sparks aims to reduce this statistic so all children have the chance of a healthy future.  


Together we can make a real difference to the lives of sick babies and children by your support in my once-in-a-lifetime expedition to Kilimanjaro, in aid of Sparks.


Kilimanjaro is one of Africa’s most magnificent sights, and at 5,985m it is her highest peak. It's the tallest freestanding volcano in the world and Kibo, which is the central crater, rests on its two sisters Mawenzi and Shira.


Joining the South-West Expedition Team, during 3rd – 12th February 2011 my challenge was to reach her summit.


As a Devon girl and local business woman, I was thrilled that Exeter's Express and Echo newspaper personally supported us during the lead up to this challenge, as well as during the expedition itself. With the additional backing from other local businesses, I was equipped to regularly report back from Kilimanjaro on how we were getting on through updated reports on Twitter @MECAservices , in the Express and Echo, and on my own Blog: 



This was the ultimate once in a lifetime charity challenge, as well as it having been a personal ambition of mine - one of my 'Bucket List' items now ticked off. But to be committed, I needed to raise a minimum of £4,000 (not including personal expenses) and I thus look towards personal donations from my customers, family and friends, as well as through local business sponsorship, for this purpose.


The trek took us up the mountain via the Rongai route, which approaches Kilimanjaro from the north. From the starting point just south of the Kenya-Tanzania border, we passed through farmland and forest, to several other climatic zones, all with the additional challenges we faced as the altitude changed. We finally crossed a barren lunar landscape, known as the Saddle, to the summit of Kibo which, despite its position on the Equator, is permanently covered in snow. As if the trek and altitude sickness wasn't tough enough as it is, this final summit climb was made at night with only headlamps to see the person's feet in front of us. I suffered altitude sickness, mountain sickness and exhaustion. I literally fell asleep whilst climbing and was only saved by some of my fellow team members.


Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – 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 UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.


So please dig deep and donate now! Thank you so much.


  • Kili - the largest free standing volcano
  • Little Tom Thumb - 3 months premature
  • Training on Dartmoor +8