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Rail staff conquer Mount Kenya

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A team of 20 intrepid rail staff has raised £90,000 for the Railway Children in a dramatic 11-day expedition to the summit of Mount Kenya. Climbers braved storm force winds and bad weather to raise money for the charity which helps children at risk on the streets.

At a height of 4,985m, the group had to contend with the effects of altitude, including headaches, nausea and exhaustion as well as freezing temperatures. The bold attempt to reach the summit was nearly cancelled by winds of 90 mph.

Says Katie Mason, events manager from Railway Children, ‘This year we saw some of the toughest conditions ever. But despite a couple of the group suffering from extreme vertigo, they conquered their fears and, as dawn broke, all twenty reached their goal and were rewarded with a sensational sunrise over East Africa. The support from our sponsors, Worldline, has been amazing and to have raised £90,000 is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved. Funds raised from the trip will go directly to children in need in East Africa, India and the UK.

From providing shelter, food, and clothing to medical supplies, education and counselling, we will be able to reach and transform the lives of so many more children. Children like Ravi, aged just three years old, who was found a couple of weeks before tied to a tree in the middle of a forest with burn marks and a broken arm. Thanks to the Mount Kenya trekkers, children like Ravi now have a future.’

After the trek, the group travelled to Kitale and spent a day at a drop-in centre for street children funded by Railway Children to see first hand what a difference their fundraising efforts will make. The group also visited a short-term home in Birunda, where children stay until Railway Children can help them be reunited with their families or an alternative long-term solution can be found.

Says Lisa Coleman, UK&I chief executive, Worldline, ‘The challenge of climbing Mount Kenya was hard by our standards, but incomparable to the daily hardships these children have faced, the horrendous conditions, the starvation, just to survive another day. And Railway Children’s frontline staff at Kitale are incredible. Seeing how they connect with the children, working with each one individually, as well as supporting the children’s families to get them the best possible outcome for the future is truly inspiring.’