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Kilimanjaro climb will raise cash for Frome’s Kenyan orphanage

ATEAM of five fundraisers are taking on the climb of their lives in a bid to help raise funds towards the building of a new orphanage in Kenya, set up by a Frome woman.

Arron Collins-Thomas, Amanda Gautier, Nikki Wood, Ella Walden and Gary Collingwood will take on Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Mama Upendo Children’s Trust, a Frome-based charity responsible for providing a home, care and education for orphans in Kitui, Kenya.

Mama Upendo Children’s Trust, set up by Frome woman Sarah Hillman, will use the cash donated from the climb to go towards the building of a new orphanage.

The climbers have already flown out to Nairobi in Kenya, and travelled the 320km journey south to the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.

From there they will climb the Marangu Route up to the 19,340 ft summit, passing through rainforest, deserts and volcanoes along the way.

For Arron, who organised the climbing team, it marks a return to Kenya where he taught English for seven months. He said, “The route we are taking up Kilimanjaro is the shortest, in distance, but at the same time that makes it the most difficult. You do not have that much time to acclimatise and that is the real challenge.

“Kenya has a real way of staying with you. I have been looking around for a charity to support for quite some time, I knew that I wanted to raise cash for children. After doing some research, I found Mama Upendo Children’s Trust which was run in Frome. I met with Sarah Hillman, the president of the trust, and she told me about the work in Kenya. I knew this was a cause that I wanted to support. We will also visit the orphanage while we are over there too. It’s a chance to see how our fundraising helps the children.

“I’ve climbed Mount Kenya before and I could see Kilimanjaro from there. I knew I had to climb it.”

Arron runs ACT Personal Training and called on his clients from Babbington House to join in with the charity cause.

Gary Collingwood said, “Arron is my personal trainer and raising funds for the Mama Upendo Children’s Trust was a great idea. Also, if this climb goes well I will look to take a Mont Blanc next year in the hope to climb the seven highest peaks of the seven continents.”

Chairman of Mama Upendo Children’s Trust, and former Mayor of Frome Martin Bax, said, “I am delighted that this group of individuals have got together to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Charity.

“Indeed these are exciting times as this is the first project to raise money to build a purpose built orphanage to house the ever expanding number of children under our care. On behalf of the Trustees I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all those volunteer climbers who have given up their time to attempt this challenge and to wish them every possible success.”

Mama Upendo Children’s Trust was founded by Frome woman Sarah Hillman and her sister Elizabeth Ngala. Originally from Kenya, Sarah decided to set up an orphanage to help children who are left parentless and may be living on the streets.

If you would like to sponsor the climb team, you can do so by visiting

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