A FIRST responder is to take part in a charity challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
James O’Halleran, 62, is taking part in the Responsible Gambling Trust charity’s first ever overseas fund-raising challenge in October.
The Responsible Gambling Trust aims to raise more than £50,000 from its Kilimanjaro Challenge to help minimise gambling-related harm in Britain.
Mr O’Halleran, from Upper Mayfield, said: “At 62 years of age, I’m hoping that this expedition will give me an opportunity to prove to myself that I am still fit and capable of completing such a physical and mental task”.
He is completing the expedition in order to raise funds for both the Responsible Gambling Trust and Mayfield and Ellastone First Responder Group.
During the seven-day expedition, Mr O’Halleran, together with 27 other adventurers, will endure high elevation, low temperatures, high winds and altitude sickness in an attempt to scale the 19,341ft mountain and reach Uhuru Peak.
He added: “One of the biggest challenges that I will face on the expedition is being way from my wife for 10 days - this will be the longest that we have ever been apart. “Hopefully, I’ll have plenty of stories to tell her when I return home”.
Mr O’Halleran is senior vice president, UK and Ireland at Inspired Gaming Group and a volunteer at Mayfield and Ellastone First Responder Group.
He volunteers as a driver, together with his wife Nicola, a responder, and both attend to 999 calls received any time, day or night, while an emergency ambulance vehicle is en-route.
Mayfield and Ellastone community First Responders is made up of volunteers and relies entirely on charitable donations to fund equipment, vehicles and running costs.
Having already achieved his fund-raising target for the Responsible Gambling Trust, Mr O’Halleran is attempting to raise £15,000 for the responders and is within sight of achieving that.
Mount Kilimanjaro comprises of three distinct volcanic cones and the national park is a UNESCO world heritage site.
It is the world’s largest freestanding mountain and around 25,000 people per year attempt to summit the top of Africa.
Kilimanjaro contains an example of virtually every ecosystem on earth, glacier, snowfields, deserts, alpine moorland, savannah, and tropical jungle, all of which are found on the mountain.
To sponsor Mr O’Halleran visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jimskilamanjaroclimb