Erith man will climb Mount Kilimanjaro with the help of a mountain trike

PUBLISHED: 13:45 11 July 2014 | UPDATED: 10:29 14 July 2014

Iain, with his dad Graham and his  brother Callum.

Iain, with his dad Graham and his brother Callum.


A family will be embarking on the challenge of a lifetime to raise money for a cause close to their hearts.

Iain in his mountain trike.Iain in his mountain trike.

Graham Fryatt and his three sons Iain, 27, Callum, 24 and Craig, 23, will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October this year.

But this will be no ordinary ascent.

Iain has a condition called Friedreich’s Ataxia, which he was diagnosed with at the age of nine.

It is a degenerative disease that primarily affects the nervous system and the heart, meaning that Iain is in a wheelchair.

He will be undertaking the climb in a Mountain Trike, which allows people to steer using a lever drive, and it will be the first time that this has been attempted.

They will follow the Rongai Route over seven to 10 days, which is the best route for wheelchair ascents.

The determined team from Erith are aiming to raise £10,000 which will be donated to Ataxia UK, who are carrying out a large amount of research into the condition.

Iain said: “I can’t wait. It should be brilliant.

“It’s been going really well. I think we are up to about £1,000 already. It will be a challenge. I don’t really do much, I am indoors all day. I can’t wait to be outside, it should be really good.

“Trainings going really well. I go to a gym twice a week and I go out in the trike for a couple of hours, and I go up to Cambridge and do physio.”

He has been training at David Llyod’s Gym in Dartford, who kindly reduced Iain’s membership costs for the year.

Iain said Ataxia UK had given them a Jerry Farr grant to complete the challenge. Although this is normally only given to one person a year, they made an exception for the Fryatt family.

“Because they read our letter and they were so impressed by what we are doing, they have given us the grant anyway.”

Iain explained that his brothers and dad had been very supportive.

“They’re chuffed,” he said.

Asked what message he would give to other people with his condition who wanted to do the same thing, Iain added, “just go for it!”.

Iain’s father Graham said: “I have done a couple of treks already to raise money for Iain’s charity and my two youngest sons wanted to take part in something so we planned, the three of us, to do Kilimanjaro.”

After making the decision to carry out the fundraiser, the family had been looking at different wheelchairs for Iain to use on an everyday basis when they spotted the mountain trike.

“Iain had a go and got on really well with it.

“To us the logic was that the next step was Kilimanjaro. It made perfect sense to us! It’s been absolutely brilliant.”

Once Iain got involved with training for the challenge, his proud dad soon noticed how happy it made him.

“Ian’s been stuck at home most of the time.

“It’s given him a real boost to his confidence and a boost in his fitness levels because he’s got something to actually aim for.

“Before, it was very difficult for him to accept that he had his condition in all honesty.

“Our relatives have noticed how much his confidence has changed.

“Now his posture is there, his confidence is there.

“The whole point was to give him something to focus on and if we didn’t get to Kilimanjaro it wasn’t the be all and end all, but the fact that we are going is a bonus.”

Iain has been given the all clear by his cardiologist, who said that the climb would not affect his condition in a negative way.

“He’s more than happy to give us his blessing,” Graham said.

Iain has also been going to a specialist gym in Cambridge which works with people in wheelchairs and heading out in the evenings to get plenty of mileage in the mountain trike.

Graham is positive about the climb and what it has already done for them as a family.

“It’s great because it’s brought the four of us closer together in many ways as well.

“It’s given us all a common goal. The fundraising side is something the other two have been really enjoying.

“We have had a really great response.

“People have been really excited by it. Even down to complete strangers.

“The boys keep saying how organised I am in all this, which is unusual for me!

“It’s just us, it makes it better.

“As you get older they tend to drift away a bit, it’s nice for their old dad!”

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