Trip of a lifetime to support inspirational stroke charity

Edwina and Henrietta Drake climbing Mount Kenya. ANL-161101-150927001
Edwina and Henrietta Drake climbing Mount Kenya. ANL-161101-150927001

A mother and daughter have braved the perilous slopes of Mount Kenya to support a local stroke charity, the dangers of the mountain made all too real on their descent.

Henrietta Drake suffered from altitude sickness during and after the successful trek to the summit of Africa’s second highest mountain, with daughter Edwina, 28.

Edwina and Henrietta Drake take a rest as they climb Mount Kenya. ANL-161101-150851001

Edwina and Henrietta Drake take a rest as they climb Mount Kenya. ANL-161101-150851001

But the potentially fatal consequences of taking on such a challenge were revealed as a schoolboy died making his way up the mountain in a different group.

The duo had successfully climbed the mountain, despite Mrs Drake’s illness, but it was a stark reminder of the challenge they had overcome.

It was her daughter’s idea to take on the trek.

“I though I’d join her,” said the 58-year-old from Twinstead. “I’d never done a challenge before. And as I’m involved with Success After Stroke I thought it would be fantastic to do it for them. It’s such a wonderful charity.”

In total the pair managed to raise £12,000 for the charity which offers, support, friendship and advice to residents from the local area that have suffered strokes.

Hiring physiotherapists, speech therapists and other specialists to work with members, the charity’s running costs are high.

As a result the pair’s £12,000 contribution delighted Viv Bourne, one of the charity’s founders.

“It’s completely amazing, when she first told us I was blown away,” she said.

Despite the illness and some sobering moments Mrs Drake said it was an incredible experience, even getting a chance to see some of Africa’s famous animals before taking on the climb.

Met initially with torrential rain, the trek was initially in doubt.

They took on the eastern side Chogoria route, the “longer, tougher and most beautiful route”.

Describing the views as “incredibly beautiful” the mother-of-three began to suffer from altitude sickness at around 3,000 metres.

Despite this she successfully completed the trek with her daughter with the help of their two guides and their porters.

“I’ve never done a challenge and I will probably never do another one,” she said. “But it was very beautiful and worth the struggle as people had donated so much money and thinking of all the people here, it was definitely worth it.”

So important and unique is the group and the service it offers ,that one gentleman gets up at 4am to travel by public transport from Stowmarket.

The group is holding an art exhibition at St Peter’s, Sudbury in March as well as a number of art classes to raise funds.

The exhibition runs from March 1 to March 10, with work from local artists and members of the charity.

On March 2, war artist Francis Bowyer is giving a talk. Tickets including lunch cost £25.

On March 4, there is a special art class with artists Maryanne Nicholls and Cary Norman. Tickets cost £75 including all materials and lunch.

For more information on any of these events please email vivbourne@gmail.com.

To donate to Henrietta’s fund visit www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Henrietta-Drake.