Sub-zero climb for hospital that saved dad’s life

Mountain man ' David Wilkinson on his fundraising mountain climb to help hospital patients.
Mountain man ' David Wilkinson on his fundraising mountain climb to help hospital patients.

Crane driver David Wilkinson (45) dropped to his knees with a severe pain in his head when he suffered a brain haemorrhage in September last year.

This is the sunrise David and Tony photographed from the summit of Kilimanjaro.

This is the sunrise David and Tony photographed from the summit of Kilimanjaro.

He spent three days in intensive care at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, a further seven days undergoing hospital tests and three months recovering at his Donington home.

“Walking down the garden path was a big effort when I first came out of hospital,” he said.

Doctors gave David the all-clear for the Kilimanjaro adventure and he reached the summit with his brother Tony, from Jersey, on the sixth day of their trek. Only four of the seven-strong party made it to the top.

The last leg to the summit involved a midnight climb under a full moon in temperatures of -15C to -20C.

David said: “Slowly but surely we edged closer to the top. Eventually we reached Stella Point (5745m), but we were not done yet. We could see Uhuru Peak (5895m) but it still took us another 45 minutes before we finally got there.”

Their arrival at the summit was perfectly timed as the sun started to appear over the horizon in Tanzania.

David said: “I was reasonably overcome with emotion to be honest, but more than anything it was a relief because it was a tough climb through the night. There’s no way of explaining how beautiful it is – it is absolutely spectacular.”

The brothers have so far raised around £1,300 to help patients at Queen’s Medical Centre.

David said: “Hopefully it will make a difference to someone’s life – that’s why we did it. The hospital staff certainly made a difference to my life and I have to thank them for their dedication and professionalism. Without them I may not have been able to complete this challenge.”

The brothers topped off a truly unforgettable experience with a two-day safari before returning home.

Kilimanjaro may not be David’s last big adventure.

He said: “I quite fancy one of the poles – the North Pole or the South Pole – or even Mount McKinley in Alaska. It would be fantastic.”

lYou can donate to the hospital fund until December 1 on www.justgiving.com/davidwilkinson16