Charity fundraisers endure both heat and cold in mountain climb

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Dave Mann and Dee Hawke at the summit of Ras Dashen. ns

Fundraisers for a Warwick charity endured freezing temperatures and blistering heat in a charity trek in Ethiopia.
Dave Mann and Dee Hawke hiked through the Simien mountains to the 15,000ft summit of the country’s highest peak Ras Dashen in November in aid of Retrak, a charity which helps street children in East Africa.

The mountain is half the height of Everest and the pair, who raised more than £6,500, said the challenge was the toughest thing they had ever done, with lack of oxygen testing every walker’s endurance.

For Mrs Hawke, of Tachbrook Road, it was the second mountain she had ever climbed – the first being a trip up Snowdon in November.

She decided to go only seven weeks before the trek began and raised £5,000 before she left.

The usher, who works at courts in Warwick and Coventry, said: “I wasn’t too sure but it turned out to be the most amazing thing I have done in my life.

“It was 100 degrees during the day with no shade and minus ten during the night. The glass in one person’s watch popped out the conditions were so extreme. But it was amazing how we gelled together as a team.”

Mr Mann, of Charles Street, Warwick is the charity’s fundraising co-ordinator but had never walked at altitude. He said: “The terrain was breathtaking but rugged. None of us had trekked at that altitude before and some suffered from intense headaches. Breathing was difficult, so every step took great effort.”

The rewards for their effort included views across the mountain range and sightings of Gelada baboons as well as ibex and other exotic birds.

And on their return from the trek the party visited Retrak’s project in Addis Abbaba, where street children are given the chance to go to school, be reunited with their families or find homes with a foster family. The team spent time talking to some of the children who are benefiting from the charity’s work and ended the day with a football match against the youngsters.

Mrs Hawke added: “It was fantastic to see how the money raised from our efforts during the trek will be used to help street children in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya to begin a new life away from the danger and horror of life on the streets.”

The trek was organised by Mrs Hawke’s daughter Karla Hawke. Its 14 members raised more than £60,000.

Karla was really proud of her mother’s achievement both in climbing the mountain, and raising such a large amount of money in less than seven weeks.

She said: “Retrak is really grateful to people like Dave and Dee who took part. Anyone interested in future challenges should visit our website for more information.”


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