African summit ahead for Tom and mum as hike looms

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While most South Holland youngsters settle into a new school term, Thomas Dawson (9) and his mum Phillida (39) will be hiking up Africa’s highest mountain.

In September, the pair will be joined by experiencing climbing partner Chris Weeks for a two-week trek up the 19,336ft Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

The Moulton Chapel Primary School pupil has been inspired by American Jordan Romero (15), who became the youngest person ever to reach the summit of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, including Kilimanjaro, Everest and Mount McKinley in the USA.

Phillida said: “It all started about 18 months ago when Thomas just announced that he was going to climb Kilimanjaro.

“Thomas is very internet savvy and he has spent some time on Youtube watching mountaineering, Bear Grylls and Jordan Romero who is the real inspiration behind this climb.

“He has also known Chris Weeks for a long time and he asks him lots of questions about climbing mountains.”

Phillida has been granted special dispensation by the school to take Thomas to Kilimanjaro after already climbing Yorkshire’s Three Peaks, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon – all before his tenth birthday.

“I encourage my children to achieve what they are 
capable of and not hold them back from anything,” Phillida said.

“Mountaineering is about risk management and while there are some things you can’t control, there are other things that you can control.

“Thomas is very excited about Kilimanjaro but for him it’s still a long way off.”