79-year-old Leicester grandfather completes Kilimanjaro for Rainbows

A 79-year-old grandfather took on and completed the biggest challenge of his life by climbing to the top of Africa’s highest mountain.

Last month, Brian Fowler scaled 5,895m to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. To date, he has raised over £2,500 for us, smashing his target of £1,600.

“It was incredible,” said Brian. “My muscles told me I had pushed them beyond what they should do but I am okay now. The support I had was great, my guide, Frances, and our porters were just amazing. Frances had been up and down that mountain over 100 times and knew every stone. 

“Frances’ had said I was as strong and brave as a lion but by the time we were leaving School Camp for the final ascent with a 4am start, I felt like a wounded lion. I had a piercing pain in my left calf and in the sole of my left foot, that was slowing my progress, but not my determination.  

“My drive to keep putting one foot in front of the other was strengthened by the support of those back home. I saw the sunrise on the way up to the summit and I was just so elated yet so tired. During that last push, I was commanding myself up as I was totally exhausted, but so proud of myself.”

Brian’s wife, Catherine, passed away six years ago and our charity was a cause that was very dear to her, so it was important to him to raise funds for us.

“My wife was with me all the way,” he said. “Whenever I do a big challenge, I take her photos with me. Everything I have done since she has been gone, she is with me.

“I had carried a Rainbows banner in my heavy rucksack and this was proudly displayed at each of the points along the way, and on the summit where the rocks gleamed with snow and ice in the morning sun. I have had such great support and money is still coming in. I am very humbled by people’s generosity and the kind messages I have received. People are very touched by Rainbows; it is an incredible place.”
Brian, who has completed the Great North Run 16 times, is no stranger to challenges. Three years ago he ran 93 miles along the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path and raised £1,200 for us. He has also walked the Pennine Way and trekked 182 miles Coast to Coast.

Ali Furlong, Community Fundraiser for Rainbows, added: “Wow. What can I say? Brian is just an amazing, strong and kind man and he is incredibly inspiring. He has completed one of the toughest challenges there is and we just cannot thank him enough. His fundraising is fantastic and he will certainly be putting a smile on many faces at the hospice.”

To support Brian, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Brian-Fowler7