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Kilimanjaro Challenge

A journey to the roof of Africa for your Air Ambulance!
Reach new heights - Help save lives...

Hi, I’m Louisa, News Editor at The Breeze and I am going to be trekking up Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance on behalf of the radio station.

This is a huge challenge and I have a lot of money to raise, but it's for a great cause.

Anyone could need the Air Ambulance at any time and here across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, many of us live in hard to reach places, making this service even more important.

It costs £125,000 every month to keep the HIOWAA flying and teams have flown more than 5000 missions.

Every day the Air Ambulance crew provide efficient, prompt responses to crashes, sporting accidents, collapses and other incidents across the area. The Helicopter is called out many times a day, and these missions are often lifesaving.

Every single penny to keep it going is raised through fundraising like this, so this challenge is really important to make sure we help to keep a great service going.

The Breeze is proud to support HIOWAA.

I will provide updates throughout the training and trek here on our website.
Every penny helps so please give as generously as you can

>> Please click here to donate <<


My story - A trip up Kilimanjaro.

While I was away I made an audio diary in the hope it would highlight what it was really like to do a challenge like this.

One of the clips is actually from the very top of Kilimanjaro after hours of walking!

Here is a the story in a short film - showing the six days we spent on Kilimanjaro.


The Summit


We've only gone and done it! 

We hit the summit at 5,895 metres. It hasn't been easy and it is a long way down again...but it is NOT what I imagined when I first saw this...

Reality sinking in

We never thought it was going to be easy but day three is certainly the hardest so far! 


Not making a song and dance about nothing

Spirits high, feet are sore, but we have been celebrating with music tonight:

It costs £125,000 every month to keep the HIOWAA flying and teams have flown more than 5000 missions. So each step is for them - and a little bit because I have to!


This is what it is all for...

More than 150 thousand pounds has been raised so far by our team of thrill seeking climbers.

I'm just one of 37 fundraisers climbing Mount Kilimajaro this week. 

It's all in aid of supporting the life saving work done by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

I'm walking with Matthew Davis. He is doing the expediton in memory of his daughter Lily- who paramedics fought to save.

Sadly she passed away at just five months old.

Matthew with daughter Lily Lily Davis- who the air ambulance tried to save


I'm still going!

After a few days, we're still smiling. 



Day one

It is extreme, but we're coping. I think all that training was worth it. I will never complain about the stairs again! 

Hear all about it...


Before the reality of the climb kicks in!

All for a good cause!


And so it begins...

8th February 2015: 

I have arrived and am set to go. I flew out to Kenya overnight on Saturday and am now in Moshi in Tanzania. Fingers crossed I will summit Kilimanjaro on 13th February. Keep coming back to see how its going!



7th February 2015: 

Thank you to all my sponsors! I'm on my way, raring to go and excited to be sporting The Breeze Coat. 

A big thank you to OSL clothing in Bordon for organising the logos. 

You can find out more about our sponsors below: 


Andover Rugby Football Club              Abstract Bodyworks             Bull by the Horns PR

Hare and Hounds Restaurant             Hungerford Crossfit                Stannah Lifts

TCC- The Commercial Centre




26th July 2014:

Well here I am, all signed up and raring to go. Many of you would recognise my voice but would have no idea what I look like (the wonderful thing about radio) so here I am, rather windswept in the Hampshire Countryside...

So, signing up for this challenge was daunting enough, but now the real challenge begins.

It’s not just about getting fit for climbing a rather large mountain, I’ve also got to raise a lot of money for this amazing cause, for that I will need some help.

I have already got some cash from my work colleagues by creating a World Cup Sweepstake (well done Sara P who won and then very kindly donated her winnings!). I also have a weekly lotto which I am constantly debt collecting for, reminding everyone it’s for a good cause, however a big string of roll overs is helping.

If you would like to hold a lottery at your work as a way of supporting the challenge, I’d be happy to help you set it up and then you can just donate the cash via the donate button above, an easy and fun way to raise money for this amazing cause and you could win some cash from it yourself – it is a lottery after all.

I know I keep telling you what a great cause this is but some of the stories I will share with you through the build up to the trek literally left me speechless (which takes quite a lot as I talk for a living). There are very few people who have never seen the air ambulance out and about in Hampshire and across in to the Thames Valley at some point. The work the crews do and the amount of money they raise is just incredible. It made the decision to take part in the challenge easy for me, then I signed up and thought ‘what have I done’. However the good news is, you don’t have to do any of the training but I do need your donations for this amazing charity.

Here they are in action at Hoglands Park in Southampton:

If you have any ideas or would like to help with my fundraising I would be delighted to hear from you, just drop me an email to lmaher@celador.co.uk with the subject – ‘Kilimanjaro Challenge’.

I would also welcome local companies to help where you can. I am looking for sponsors for a variety of different things from showing your support with a donation or providing kit. There will be a number of opportunities for businesses to get involved and if you think you can help, please just drop me an email.

Valley Leisure has shown their support by giving me access to the gym and other facilities so I can start training. You will see me at Andover Leisure Centre working out most weekday evenings. If you do manage to spot me please give me some encouragement, I certainly need it for all the uphill training I’m doing.

After an induction with Laura, my personal trainer Ryan put together a rather gruelling training programme for me. When a trainer says ‘I feel quite sorry for you’ as they write down another round of weighted squats on the card, you know it’s not going to be a piece of cake.

I have to start the week with 30 minutes on the ‘step machine’, an actual revolving stair case so there is no option to cheat! I am a little clumsy so I have to concentrate A LOT when I am on this machine, unfortunately it doesn’t take away the pain which eventually starts burning my thighs. At the moment I get to that point after about 5 minutes which leaves me making gurning faces for the other 25! I am assured this will get easier, but then you have to go faster and longer.

After that comes the dreaded squats, lunges and step ups. I am quite small so you may think getting close to the ground is easier, I can assure you, it’s not.

The first time I did this set of exercises in the gym I could hardly walk down the stairs afterwards, however by February I am hoping walking 10 hours a day up a rather big hill will be a breeze, so surely it can only get better.

Other exercises I have been given includes walking on an incline for half an hour, I managed to watch a documentary about penguins when I did this the other day, so at the moment this is one of my favourites but I can't get too excited as it comes with weights for my arms, back and shoulders along with a circuit of tummy exercises. Later I will add a weighted bag while walking to get me ready for the trek days.

If that isn’t enough, at the weekends, when I am not out doing a training walk or fundraising, I will hopefully be spotted *running up and down St Catherine’s Hill near Winchester.

*I use the term running loosely here, it’s hard work so to start with much of the going up and down will be walking.

My smug face when I reach the top of these stairs, imagion what it will look like at the top of Kilimanjaro.

Since my last blog lots of things have been going on.

First off, I managed to get on the breakfast show to promote the event.

A nice early start in Southampton for the first one. I am used to being on the other side of the microphone, asking the questions, so I was a little nervous.

As I was frantically making notes, I was called in by Lou, I just really didn’t want to let HIOWAA down.

Here’s what happened:

Despite a little slip up with regard to the amount of time it takes to come down the mountain (I meant you can do it in a day but you have to walk slower because of the altitude acclimatization process) it wasn’t as bad as what I thought it could have been.

Pictured: Lou, Louisa and Jez.

The following day I went to see Tony and Steph and I was feeling a little calmer for this one.

I was due to arrive at 7.30am as I thought I was on air at 7.45, however as I was parking up my phone rang, seeing it was Steph I was a little worried and I was right to be. She asked me where I was ‘Just walking down the car park stairs’ I replied, ‘ Oh, you have three minutes until you are on air’.

GULP – I ran down four flights of steps and then back up three but I MADE IT! However it meant I didn’t have any time to worry or think about what I was going to say, so we just got on with it.

You can hear at the beginning of my bit I am a little out of breath:

Pictured: Tony, Louisa and Steph.

Keep listening to The Breeze at Breakfast as there will be some information and interviews coming very soon and I hope to have some very interesting people with me next time to help explain all about the charity.

I have also been busy out at events in the Thames Valley, one of these was in Basingstoke at ‘The Breeze Connecting Biz’ event. Businesses from across the town meet to share ideas, discuss their companies and how they help each other at the networking event. I was given the opportunity to talk to this group about Kilimanjaro challenge.

On the day you get a free lunch so we asked for a lunch donation for the cause and managed to raise just under £100

Photo’s from http://www.sarahgauntphotography.co.uk/ 


I have also taken part in my first training distance walk from Hedge End to Winchester (12.5 miles)

Here are some pictures from the route.

I took this photo as I was tempted to get the train the rest of the way.

Now I am in the process of organising my first event in Andover.

‘The Breeze Ducktober Race’ is due to be held on October 18th – the idea is you pay a fiver for a duck and then watch it race down the River Anton. We will be in Andover town centre on Saturday 11th October selling the ducks – with the proceeds going to HIOWAA.

You can win a family ticket to Finkley Down Farm, A family ticket to The Hawk Conservancy or a Breeze hamper.


So get ready for the next update when we will all have gone quackers over the ‘Ducktober Race’.

The Ducktober race managed to raise over 300 pounds towards the total, and we are hoping there will be some more in the future.

Thank you to all those who took part of gave money.


It's been very busy since my last update, I have meet some new people who are taking on the challenge.

We went for a weekend in North Wales, trekking the peaks of Tryfan.

A few weeks before, the same trek was videoed - so you can see some of the terrain I was having to scramble up.

Richard is going to be climbing at the same time as me and I think he is a real inspiration to get me to the top.

To help me get up Tryfan, and of course Kilimanjaro in February, I have started a new training regime with Abstract Bodyworks in Newbury.

You can follow my progress via the website by clicking here.

Twice a week I head in to the gym, where I met my trainer. I spend 15 minutes completing weight training and that's it!

I have noticed a real difference already and that's in just four weeks with muscles appearing where I didn't even realise I had them and I am feeling much fitter too.

Each week I am doing other training in Andover, but more technical training to help me walk up a mountain.


I am now only one month away from the big climb and I am getting even more support from businesses and individuals.

Very kindly and generously Mountain Warehouse in Guildford has given me a coat to wear in the cold climate that is the top of Kilimanjaro and I am offering space on it to be sponsored.


So if you would like your company’s logo to get pictured on the top of Kilimanjaro please get in contact with me via lmaher@celador.co.uk and for a donation we will put your logo on my coat or talk to your Account Manager at The Breeze. Please take in to account the colour of the coat and how your logo will work as the colour may have to be altered so it can be seen.


It's been another busy couple of weeks in the lead up to the trek in just under a months’ time!

My training is still going well, but it is getting tougher as the real countdown is on.

Thank you to Andover Rugby Club for letting me do a collection at the club one weekend, I managed to get around £200, so thank you for your generosity.

I’ve been training hard as the time ticks away, I recently spent a Friday night climbing Snowdon overnight. We summited at around 4:30 in the morning, we had strong winds, wind chill of around -17 and we had to make our way through around a foot of snow. This was most certainly both a physical and mental test.

The reason we did it at night was to get us ready for the summit night on Kilimanjaro as we will leave at midnight and walk to the summit for sunrise. We are expected to walk for at least 14 hours on the day but we should reach the highest point in Africa, so it will be worth it.

Below are some pictures from the night trek.

At the start in the carpark - it was pretty cold already.

A rather snowy picture on the way up:

Here we are at the summit of Snowdon at around 4:30am.

Once I had recovered and slept for hours following this training exercise, I was offered a session at Wild Lotus Studio in Newbury.

Me and my colleague Emma gave the Ariel Yoga a try and I would strongly recommend it. I have not felt that relaxed and calm in a long time.

We even managed some tricks.

I have another night walk coming up this weekend – so there will be more to catch up on before I head off on the challenge of a lifetime.

Don’t forget everything I have done and am doing is to raise money for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance which saves many lives every year.

To donate, please go to the top of this page and ‘click to donate’. Every penny counts.



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