LYME Regis resident Louise Powell has returned home after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of her father.
The former Woodroffe School pupil, who is currently studying social work at Southampton Solent University, raised £5,000 for the mental health charity Mind through her hike up the highest mountain in Africa.
She decided to take on the challenge in memory of her father Derek, who tragically committed suicide last year having suffered mental health issues, as it was something they had wanted to do together.
Speaking about the trip, Louise commented: “I was away over 11 days, eight days of walking – six days up and two down. The days consisted of four to eight hours of walking per day in a range of different temperatures, from 30 degree heat in the day to minus figures during the night.
“To complete the trip, the main day is summit day. We set of at 1am and reached the Uhuru summit at the top of Kilimanjaro at 8.20am, using head torches through the night. It then took another five and a half hours down with wind chills of -15 and a lot of snow through the whole of summit night!”
Louise originally set a fundraising target of £3,500 but has surpassed this, with £4,500 donated through her online fundraising page and other events, including a sponsored head shave, and a further £500 donated at her father’s funeral.
Louise added: “This trip to Mount Kilimanjaro was something my dad and I had planned to do together and was very important to me. As well as raising much-needed funds for this amazing charity, I wanted to raise awareness about mental health and inform people that they don’t have to hide their mental illnesses and there is help out there.
“I loved the whole trip! There was eight of us in our group, run by Charity Challenge and all raising money for different charities. All members of our group made it to the summit without experiencing any major altitude problems.
“A big thank you goes to the Royal Standard for hosting the charity head shave night, the Rotary Club, Uplyme Fete and the Nag’s Head for donating, and all my friends and family for all the donations and support.
“Thank you also to BBC Spotlight too for interviewing me for their mental health story, more for rasing awareness rather than funds, as I also wanted to get the message across about mental health issues as well as raising money.”
Louise’s online fundraising page is still open for donations and can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/louise-powell25