Reaching the heights for charity

IPSWICH: A five-day trek up one of the world’s tallest walkable mountains allowed Michael Palmer to plant a flag which held a special place in his father’s heart.

Mr Palmer and three friends hiked and scrambled up Kilimanjaro – the tallest peak in Africa – and raised �17,000 for three charities.

At the top of the 15,000 ft mountain and with temperatures at -10C and the air thin, Mr Palmer unfurled the flag of HMS Phoebe on which his late dad Harry Palmer had served during the Second World War.

“It was a lovely moment because the flag had been quite a memento for the family, especially since dad died three years ago,” he said.

“The HMS Phoebe was torpedoed but didn’t sink.”

Mr Palmer, 44, of Chattisham, did the walk with work colleague Colin Johnson, 50, of Essex, who works with him at R&Q insurance consultants, and friends Callum Licence, 38, of Ipswich, and Alistair Conner, 38, of London, who both work for financial services company UBS.

“We were commuting to work and sitting on the train plotting and planning things we would like to do – boys trips – to strange places and Kilimanjaro was suggested,” said Mr Palmer.

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“It would be quite a challenge, a significant hike – not a technical climb with poles and ropes, but with a fair bit of scrambling, with an ice glacier to walk round.

“It took five days to get up and two to come down

“It was fantastic and great fun. I had never been any higher than the top of the stairs before so it was quite a change.”

The group had a team of 21 porters to carry their kit and did the last part to the peak, around the edge of a volcanic crater, in darkness in order to arrive for sunrise.

Afterwards they relaxed on an African safari.

Sponsorship will go to the NSPCC, Reachout Now to help build a school in a Tanzanian village, and for research into a rare blood disorder.

? Are you doing a charity event – contact the Evening Star Newsdesk on 01473 324788.

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