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Bexley girl to take on 21st birthday Mount Kilimanjaro challenge

PUBLISHED: 12:16 01 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:17 01 November 2013

Emma Connelly

Emma Connelly

Archant

Bexley girl Emma Connelly will be celebrating her 21st birthday in a slightly different way to her peers - is marking her milestone with a fundraising challenge so big that it's one of the largest of its type in the world.

On January 15, the day after her birthday, Emma will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise vital funds for EllenorLions Hospices.

Thanks to the north Kent charity, Emma’s dad David was able to stay at home with his family in the final months before he died in 2000.

Instead of birthday presents, Emma, of Blendon Road, has asked for sponsorship so the charity can provide vital hospice care to seriously ill adults and children in their place of choice.

Emma said: “I was only seven when my dad passed away from cancer. It made such a difference being able to keep dad at home. My mum said she could call on our EllenorLions nurse Laurie anytime and she would visit us several times a week.

“After he died, they also provided us with much-needed bereavement support. We are so very grateful to the charity for all they did for us and I wanted to do my bit to give something back.”

Emma has already surpassed her target of £3300 by holding a variety of fundraisers, including a boot sale, raffle, cake sale and charity night at the Golden Lion pub in Luddesdown.

Generosity from friends, family and strangers has helped Emma to prepare mentally for the almighty 10-day trek through extreme temperatures of 35 degrees at the bottom of Mount Kilimanjaro to minus 20 degrees at the summit.

To help her remain strong, Emma will carry a sentimental locket reminding of her dad that she will bury at the summit.

Emma added: “I’ve been so preoccupied with fundraising that I haven’t given the actual challenge much thought. But I believe it will be like walking from the equator to the arctic pole in a matter of days. I will be doing the trek with strangers and we will have an armed ranger with us at all times to protect us from wild animals.

“It will be tough, but I think it will make it easier knowing that I am doing this for such an amazing cause and in memory of my dad.”

To make a donation, visit Emma’s sponsorship page virginmoneygiving.com/EmmaLucyConnelly.

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