THE speaker at the guild’s March meeting was Terry McCarthy.

He had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with his son Andy and daughter Jo, raising £13,500 for the Alzheimer’s Society in the process.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world at 5,895m, which is four-and-a-half times the height of Ben Nevis. It is a World Heritage Site.

They climbed in a group of 28, including a leader, guides and a doctor.

In addition there were 78 porters in attendance.

Altitude sickness caused great problems, making a number of climbers feel very ill.

The weather was terrible and so were the “bathroom arrangements”.

The party slept in small three-man tents. The youngest member of the party was 25 and the oldest 64.

Mr McCarthy said the final ascent to Uhuru Peak began at midnight.

It was bitterly cold, the wind was severe and a number of people collapsed due to altitude sickness.

The 12 people who finally made it to the summit arrived at dawn to a beautiful sunrise and were given a celebratory cup of tea.

The climb had taken eight hours over snow, ice and shale but was very much worth the effort.

Mr McCarthy said 15,000 people attempt this climb each year.

On average only 40 per cent are successful and 10 climbers lose their lives trying.

This was a most interesting and informative talk, illustrated with excellent slides.

The guild was pleased to hear its quiz team had recently finished second in a Federation competition.

Arrangements are in hand for a visit to the Churchill Theatre on May 23 to see the West Wickham Operatic production of The Producers.