Wigan dad takes on epic climb up Mount Kilimanjaro to support brave schoolgirl

A Wigan dad is taking on the mammoth challenge of climbing the world’s highest free-standing mountain after being inspired by brave schoolgirl Holly Prince.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 8:58 am

Chris Paxford, 34, will travel to Tanzania at the end of February and has arranged to follow a six-day route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

He will face tough conditions and have to deal with the altitude as he scales the mountain, but he is determined to reach the peak for Holly Prince, a five-year-old girl with a rare genetic condition who is battling cancer for the third time.

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Chris Paxford

Chris, who works as an electrician, said: “I wanted to do something that would hopefully get people’s attention to donate more money to the family.

“I have done quite a few different bits for charity, but nothing out of the ordinary. I am hoping I will be able to raise a lot more than your normal amounts.”

Chris met Holly’s dad Mark Prince through football friends and read about what the youngster was going through on Facebook.

But it was only when he saw Holly himself that he knew he had to help.

“I took my daughter to a dance class and Holly walked out in front of her when I went to pick her up and it hit me how lucky we are. She’s a similar age to my little girl,” he said.

“When that happened, I wanted to try to do something to benefit them. It was heartbreaking.”

Chris, who has two children and lives in Atherton, spent several weeks talking himself into the challenge before booking the trip.

He is now focusing on making sure that he is fit for the climb and has started 2022 by eating healthily and stepping up his exercise.

He said: “I have been doing a lot of body weight exercises. I have an exercise bike at home so will be doing long distances on that and at the weekend I will go out to the Lakes and places like that.

“Last weekend I went up to Coniston. It’s about breaking the legs in again.”

Chris has climbed mountains in the UK, including Snowdon, but has never done anything as huge as Kilimanjaro.

But he is relishing the chance to scale Africa’s highest mountain.

He said: “I love travelling and I am really looking forward to it.

“I am pretty sure I can manage it, but I’m just hoping I can get to the top and do what I have said I will do.”

Chris has set an initial target of £4,000, but hopes he could raise as much as £10,000 for Holly.

The money will be used to help the youngster’s family during her treatment for cancer, as well as for a trip to Chicago for a conference held every two years for people with Bloom syndrome.

Holly’s dad Mark said: “Chris recognised Holly coming out of dance class all happy and smiling and I think it touched a nerve.

“He has done fund-raising before for big corporate charities and wanted to do something more local. We are overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness and that he is climbing Kilimanjaro for Holly.”

To donate, go to www.gofund.me/b4af92ff

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