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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Carlisle security firm pair aiming to conquer Africa's tallest mountain

A Cumbrian security firm boss and one of his colleagues are planning to conquer Africa’s highest mountain to raise cash for the Cancer Research UK charity.

Kilimanjaro men photo
Steven Jones, left and John Baird

John Baird, 31, aims to conquer 19,334ft Kilimanjaro with his long time friend and colleague Steven Jones, 30.

Like so many people, both men come from families who have been touched by cancer – in John’s case because the disease claimed the life of his grandfather Thomas, who was 82 when a brain tumour claimed his life.

John has been preparing for the expedition in October with a gruelling programme of physical activity which includes playing squash seven days a week.

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this but last year I made the decision to go for it,” said John, from Denton Holme, a joint managing director of the Carlisle based Safe & Sound security firm.

“I’ve packed in smoking and have been training hard, using weights and doing lots of cardio [vascular] exercise, using the rowing machine and exercise bike. My weight has gone down from 19 stone to 17.5.

“We’ve been told that the temperature at base camp will be hot – probably 30 C plus, but by the time we reach the summit it could be minus 10 C and blowing a gale.

“I’ll be part of a group of around 25 people from all over the country who are going up the mountain, including one aged 72. But we will have a guide to take us up.

“We’re hoping to raise £6,000 for a good cause. I lost my grandfather through cancer and Steven’s grandmother had cancer though thankfully she’s still alive.”

Made up from three distinct volcanic cones, Kilimanjaro is both Africa’s highest mountain and the fourth most prominent in the world.

The breathable oxygen at the top is less than half the amount available at sea level, but climbers can cover at least 80 kilometres on foot over the five days it takes to reach the top and return.

Anybody who wants to sponsor John and Steven can do so by following their efforts on the Safe & Sound Security (Cumbria) Limited page on Facebook.

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