Women to scale new heights to raise funds

2014-07-15 00:00

TEN Durban North women are preparing to climb Mount Meru in Tanzania in October, hoping to collect R500 000 for projects of Celebrate Life SA.

Cherry Armstrong, Lara Plumtree, Sofie Hermelin, Kristina Wallengren, Lydia Townsend, Tatum Swinny, Avril Sartori, Penny Fourie, Mags Westerhof and Shelley Matzner, who come from from a host of different backgrounds and careers, are embarking on the adventure in an effort to make the public aware of heritage and wildlife projects that Celebrate Life SA is a part of.

In the build-up to the climb, six of the women embarked on a three-day hike through Lesotho, the Eastern Cape and the Drakensberg last October. Townsend said the hike was one of the biggest challenges she had undertaken.

“It was extremely challenging with 15 kg on your back and the steep hills. I was the slowest, but it was so exhilarating to finish at the end of three days,” she said.

Townsend goes to gym from Monday to Friday, does two spinning classes a week and walks up steep hills three times a week in preparation for the climb up Meru. “I needed a new challenge in life and needed a way of giving back, something different and I love animals,” she said of her decision to do the climb.

Swinny, who works at Unilever and is studying psychology, said she loves the outdoors.

“I have a personal trainer who has daily sessions with me as I have never done this before and I do a lot of off-road walking,” she said.

Armstrong, executive director at Celebrate Life SA, was confident the venture would go off without a hitch. “We have a very dynamic team preparing for this, working hard, raising sponsorship and collecting funds so I believe everything is going to be fine,” she said.

This year Celebrate Life SA launched three new projects to help communities. The funds will be used for:

• Bread-making units that will be established in communities for residents to make and sell bread to neighbours;

• Educating communities on preserving wildlife; and

• TB and HIV counselling, which will be provided at clinics.

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