Experts in safety Arco and specialist engineering business Spencer Group have become the first members of the Holy Trinity Kilimanjaro challenge “Summit Club”, pledging more than £5,000 each towards the team’s £100,000 fund-raising target.
The nine-strong group, including executives from several prominent Hull-based companies, will tackle the ascent of the world’s fourth highest mountain, climbing nearly 20,000 ft (5,895 metres) during a ten-day expedition. The “Team Kili” challenge is the latest fund-raising drive as part of a £4.5m development project which is putting 700-year-old Holy Trinity at the centre of Hull’s exciting regeneration.
Arco’s support includes kitting out the Holy Trinity team with a complete set of gear suitable for the climb, comprising summit jacket; soft shell jacket; waterproof trousers and jacket; and base layer with built-in hoodie and snood.
The team will begin the trek at the foot of Kilimanjaro in temperatures of 30C or more and will tackle a wide variety of climatic conditions, with temperatures at and close to the summit plunging to below -20C. The team will climb for eight days, followed by descent in a single day.
Neil Riseham, Arco’s divisional director for estates and facilities, is one of the climbing team and has received his company’s full support for his participation in the challenge.
Arco stocks 22,000 products and provides safety equipment and workwear for a wide range of hazardous industries such as construction, rail, energy and petrochemicals, as well as kitting out some emergency services personnel.
However, the Kilimanjaro challenge demanded specialist clothing beyond the Arco range.
Mr Riseham said: “One of our expert buyers sourced the specialist clothing required for an expedition of this nature. We pride ourselves on providing the best available kit to our customers and that principle has extended to supplying the Kilimanjaro team.
“Holy Trinity’s first and foremost priority is to keep the team safe and we’re pleased the clothing we have provided will play a critical part in that. As well as protecting the team from hazards such as frostbite, it will ensure everyone is as comfortable as possible during the extreme conditions we will encounter on Kilimanjaro.”
Andy Parkinson, Spencer Group’s director of strategy and innovation, said: “Our Executive Chairman Charlie Spencer is passionate about Hull and its regeneration and recognises the important part Holy Trinity is playing in that, so he was keen for Spencer Group to support this great cause.
“The Spencer business is also all about entrepreneurial spirit undertaking difficult challenges, so this expedition reflects those values. We very much hope our support will encourage other businesses to come on board.”
The team fly out to Kenya on Sunday (September 18) and Holy Trinity’s Director of Development, Brian Gilliland, who is also joining the expedition, stressed there was still time for companies to come on board before or during the challenge.
He added: “Arco and Spencer Group are two of Hull’s very best and most respected companies. They are backing us because they care about Hull and recognise how important Holy Trinity’s development project is to the city.
“Both companies know all about challenges and overcoming them, so their support reflects their business ethos.
“We know many local business people look up to Arco and Spencer Group, so we hope they will be inspired to also support us. Not every businesses will be able to join the Summit Club, but there other levels of corporate sponsorship and many ways in which companies can support us.”
All the climbers are paying the costs of their participation in the expedition in full to ensure 100 per cent of sponsorship and donations goes to the Holy Trinity development project.
As well as individual donors being encouraged to support team members, Holy Trinity is urging local businesses to back the Kilimanjaro challenge by donating £500 to join the Team Kili “Base Camp”, giving £1,000 as a member of the “Climbers Club” or joining Arco and Spencer Group by pledging at least £5,000 to become a “Summit Cub” sponsor.
Mr Parkinson climbed Kilimanjaro with a group of friends in 2009, raising funds for Action Duchenne, a charity dedicated to researching a cure and treatment for a form of muscular dystrophy, and has been able to offer the benefit of his experience and advice to the Holy Trinity team.
He said: “The big challenges are the risk of altitude sickness and maintaining the mental strength to keep going.
“The hardest part is the push to the summit on the final day. That involves starting at midnight and climbing continuously for many hours. Even if they avoid altitude sickness, the team will find they are constantly short of breath and need to stop every 10 seconds, because the air is so thin.
“But the sense of achievement in reaching the summit is worth it all and the view is jaw-dropping – you see glaciers bigger than tower blocks.”
The Kilimanjaro challenge is part of a wide-ranging fund-raising campaign to enable Holy Trinity to replace outdated and inadequate facilities, become accessible to the whole community and host a wider range of cultural and social events. The development project will also create new income streams to secure a long-term sustainable future for the church as a spectacular, vibrant and welcoming place of worship and community use.
To find out more about the Holy Trinity Kilimanjaro challenge and support the fund-raising drive go to www.htdoeskili.com
Supporters can also contribute at https://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/htdevelotpment/htdoeskili