Friends’ 50th birthday challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro will raise funds for Exmouth RNLI

Friends from Exmouth celebrating milestone birthdays are gearing up to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro this month to raise funds for the town’s RNLI.

Darren Strode and Andy Beake, who are both celebrating turning 50, will next week leave for Tanzania, in a bid to scale the 5895 metres of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The pair, who chose the climb challenge to test themselves mentally and physically, expect to reach the 19,341 feet summit of the highest free-standing mountain after seven ‘hard and difficult’ days.

The pals have set up a JustGiving page for donations, and hope to raise £1,000 for the town’s RNLI.

Darren, a sales manager, said: “Andy and I live in Exmouth and both ourselves, family and friends all use the beach and water sports activities.

“We set our sights on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro this year and thought what better way to use the opportunity than to help raise funds for our local RNLI lifesavers.”

Andy, an officer with Avon and Somerset Police, said: “We’ve been good friends for a long time and living so close to the coast fully appreciate the fact that in Exmouth RNLI we have a group of volunteers who give up their time and are prepared to put themselves at risk to save people in difficulty at sea.

“We’ve always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro and to do so whilst raising funds for this important charity makes it all the more worthwhile.”

Exmouth RNLI said the friends’ personal challenge will raise ‘much-needed’ funds for the sea safety charity.

The sea safety volunteers thanked Darren and Andy for their upcoming efforts, and said they would be watching the pals’ progress.

Des White, chair of Exmouth RNLI fundraising team, said “We’ve had some extraordinary individuals take on some incredible feats to raise funds for Exmouth RNLI in the past, but I think this one probably tops them all.

“On behalf of all our volunteers at Exmouth RNLI, I’d like to say a big thank you to Darren and Andy for raising funds for us – we will all be watching their progress keenly and wish them all the very best in their quest to reach the summit.”

See Darren and Andy’s JustGiving page here.

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