Hillington fundraisers plan cricket match on Mount Kilimanjaro

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A father and son from Hillington are joining a Guiness World Record fundraising effort to take the game of cricket to new heights by playing at nearly 6,000m up Mount Kilimanjaro.

Jonathan, 53, and Hugo Worsley, 21, will be joining two teams up Africa’s highest peak this September with hopes of raising up to £500,000 for three charities.

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Funds raised are to be split between Cancer Research, anti-poaching charity Tusk and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation.

Jonathan, chairman of Bench Events, said: “My company has been running events in Africa for a while but this was a challenge for us and we took it up. This will be a first for me – it’s a bit of a mid-life crisis.

“A quick call to my son asking for support meant he is now joining me up the mountain and now we have another record to break – the highest game of cricket for a father and son.”

Hugo added: “I signed up for a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 and raised all the money, but then the trip was cancelled and every since it has been my dream to get there. When I heard my old man was attempting this I jumped at the opportunity.

“My cricket career is somewhat short-lived, however back at school I was a strong corridor cricket player, if that counts for anything.”

The two teams will face a seven day hike to reach the summit at 5,785m, a full 600m higher than the current world record which was set in 2009. Once the teams reach the crater at the summit, they will set up their stumps ready to play the game of a lifetime.

A full game of cricket at such altitude has never been attempted because the air is so thin there is a real danger of altitude sickness, which can prove fatal.

Jonathan said: “We’ve all been training by cycling and walking, but it’s the altitude we have to be prepared for and the different climates on the way up there.

“We’re a little bit nervous and slightly daunted by it, the last part of the climb is difficult and then we have to play a game of cricket. I have no idea what to expect.”

There are around 40 players heading up the mountain, taking plenty of extras to ensure they have enough players when they reach the top and to help carry the equipment up there.

Fundraising kicks off this week and a host of events are set to take place across the country over the coming months.

Jonathan said: “We’ve raised around £12,000 already and we haven’t even begun yet so I think our goal is do-able. We have lots of celebrities taking part so that should really help.”

Among the celebrities involved in the challenge is former England cricket captain Clare Connor, who lead England to a first Ashes win in 42 years, while the youngest player among the group is 13-year-old Kye Martinovic.

The cricket teams will set out on their challenge on September 27. To find out more about the challenge, or to sponsor Hugo and Jonathan, go to www.mtkilimadness.com