A 76-year-old from Nunney is gearing up to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in order to raise funds for Trinity Church in Frome.
David Jeffrey, who is vice-chair of the transforming Trinity Church project, will mark his fourth attempt at climbing the 19,340 foot mountain, since his first attempt in 1955.
He will set off for Tanzania on Tuesday 26th of June before trekking 8 days up Mt Kilimanjaro, passing ancient lava flows, a collapsed volcano and varied wildlife, while taking in views of the main peak, Uhuru, along the way.
David said, “I’ve been training hard for this climb, walking 10 miles a day up steep hills across Nunney. It’s all for the transforming Trinity project, I’m very excited to be able to go back and try to conquer Kilimanjaro.
“This time round, I’ll be taking the Lemosho Route up the mountain, which should allow for a couple more days to adjust to the altitude. My two grandsons are coming with me, so if I’m 50 metres from the top, they can carry me!”
David’s first attempt at climbing the East African mountain was made in 1955 when he volunteered to go to Kenya as part of his national service. However, when he was just a “stone’s throw” from the summit, David was overcome with altitude sickness and was unable to continue.
“It was ten years later that I tried again,” said David. “I was visiting Mombassa in Kenya and managed to convince a few people to attempt Kilimanjaro again. For some reason I had all the maps of the mountain on me, so this time we didn’t hire a guide. Only a couple of us made it to the top and again I was overcome with altitude sickness.
“It was 45 years later when I tried again in 2010. I was 300m from the top and couldn’t continue on to the summit, but the group I was with managed to raise £2,500 for Trinity Church. “One thing that has struck me about climbing Kilimanjaro is the beautiful, clear sky as you reach the top. I can only imagine the summit will be spectacular and I hope to see it this time.” Transforming Trinity Church aims to raise £700,000, needed to restore the church. You can donate to David’s cause by visiting www.bmycharity.com/charities/transformingtrinity