Father of five takes on a mountain challenge in support of Rainbows

A father of five from Derbyshire took on the challenge of a lifetime, to support the work we do.

Ian Clemson, a Principal Engineer at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. At 19,341 feet (5,895m), it’s the highest peak in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the World.  In doing so he raised over £5,000 for the East Midlands’ only hospice for children and young people living with a life-limiting condition.

Three years ago, following a health scare which saw him in hospital, Ian, who also recently became a grandfather, decided to take on the challenge which he’s wanted to do for a number of years. Ian said: “I’ve always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and when my sons were younger we talked about a dad and son trip to climb Kilimanjaro when they turned 18. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but my desire to climb the mountain has always remained.”

“While lying in the hospital bed, following a health scare, I decided that when I was back fit and healthy I would take on the challenge. That was almost three years ago and following extensive research, I’ve recently completed what I can only describe as an amazing experience.

“I used a company in Tanzania who specialise in small group treks up the mountain, although when I got there it ended up being just me, with my porters and guide, David. Despite initial hesitations about missing out on the camaraderie of being in a group, it turned out this was for the best. I could walk at my own pace and trekking up to 12 hours a day, meant I got to know David really well. We remain in contact and I’d say he’s a friend for life now.”

Using the contacts he has built up during his 28-years working for Toyota, Ian was able to raise more than double his initial fundraising target for Rainbows, with the money helping to support children and young people living with a life-limiting condition, including those from Derbyshire.

“I’m gobsmacked at how much I have been able to raise for Rainbows. Toyota Manufacturing UK’s Charitable Trust  would match fund up to £1,000, so I set my fundraising target at £2,000. Within six days I’d reached the target. It wasn’t just the financial support, the overall support from everyone was fantastic. Colleagues would stop me in the corridors and ask how training was going and how long until the challenge itself.

“From training, which included regular weekends in the Peak District and at Snowdon, the support of friends, family and colleagues and the challenge itself was incredible. To be able to stand at the summit of Kilimanjaro, to see the sunrise and the curvature of the Earth, was an amazing experience. I’m so pleased that I’ve been able to help support Rainbows.

“I’ve known about Rainbows for a number of years as my parents have always supported the charity.  My wife and I consider ourselves extremely lucky to have five healthy, grown-up children, so I wanted to give something back – and it seemed only fitting to help support a charity that does so much for local children and their families.”

Head of Organisational Giving at Rainbows, Kate Golding, said: “We can’t thank Ian enough for taking on an incredible challenge and climbing Kilimanjaro in support of Rainbows. The amount he’s been able to fundraise, with the support of his friends, family and colleagues at Toyota is amazing – and a huge thank you to Toyota’s Charitable Trust too for match-funding part of the fundraising efforts.

“We rely on our supporters at Rainbows to enable us to provide care for children and young people with a life-limiting condition, and we hope Ian’s story inspires people to get involved with Rainbows, particularly during these times when events have been cancelled and fundraising is more difficult.”