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Student Nurse Conquers Kilimanjaro in Aid of Forces Charity

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Following months of training and fundraising, University of Worcester student Lucinda Caddick has succeeded in climbing the World’s largest free standing mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro.

Lucinda, a student nurse, said: “This is by far the most difficult thing I have done in my life. It’s not just about the physical demands of climbing, but also the mental and emotional stress that you feel as your body battles to keep going with less and less oxygen the higher you get.”

She tackled the challenge to raise money for Pilgrim Bandits, a charity for forces amputees, after forging a friendship with the most wounded British soldier to survive the Afghanistan conflict.

The 35-year-old, from Kidderminster, said altitude sickness affected several members of the climbing group, with five people having to be taken down the mountain as they were too unwell to continue.

“Even the people that continued were suffering from headaches, vomiting, dizziness and loss of balance,” she said. “This included myself and I was grateful to have the support of excellent guides, porters and a team doctor to help me through the most difficult parts.”

The group aimed to get four injured service men to the summit, and succeeded in getting two of them all the way to Uhuru Peak.

Lucinda said: “On summit day we stared walking in the dark at 23.30hrs and the going was incredibly steep and slippery due to fresh snow falling. I had to concentrate so hard on my breathing as the oxygen levels dropped, and to do this I just kept chanting in my head ‘I cannot fail’.

“I thought I would feel euphoric when I reached the top, but instead I just broke down in tears. I had got a photo of my friend Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson with me to take to the top, as his injuries mean he would never be able to attempt such a challenge. It meant so much to me to have been able to complete this climb for all those injured troops whose injuries mean they are unable to do it themselves, or who have lost their lives and so will never get the chance.”

She added: “Tragically, whilst the Pilgrim Bandits group were on Kilimanjaro, three people lost their lives due to altitude related complications. None of those that died were part of the charity's group, but we were all shocked and saddened as it hit home just how dangerous conditions are out there.”

So far Lucinda has raised over £4,000 for the Pilgrim Bandits Charity. To make a donation visit http://www.bmycharity.com/pilgrimskilly01

For more information about the charity, go to www.pilgrimbandits.com