An intrepid local cricket stalwart successfully pushed through the pain barrier to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro and raise more than £5,000 for his beloved club.
Kimberley Institute CC’s Michael Blatherwick, 49, fought off back problems to trek for eight days to the reach and descend from the summit of highest Africa’s peak at 5,895 metres.
He took on the challenge with 35 other people – including former Nottinghamshire CCC opener Paul Pollard – after securing sponsorship from family, friends and local businesses.
His goal was to kick-start an ambitious project to build new cricket nets for the Newdigate Lane club, where he is the Director of Cricket.
“I have been at KICC for almost 30 years and whilst I still play, my real passion is for coaching local youngsters and getting them involved in the game of cricket,” said Michael.
“Unfortunately the nets are nearly as old as me and we are desperate for new ones. Climbing Kilimanjaro seemed like a great way to start raising the £30,000 we need.
“I’d done plenty of training, but about three weeks before the adventure, I damaged my back and I thought I would struggle.
“Then in the lead up there was the worry about the terrorist threat in Kenya and an Ebola outbreak, but, in the end, after plenty of trips to the osteopath, it worked out well,” explained Michael.
“Apart from the odd twinge, my back was fine, perhaps there was a benefit of getting back to nature and lying on the floor in a freezing tent as opposed to sitting behind a desk, getting stressed and drinking coffee!”
“Tanzania is a wonderful place and it was an experience of a lifetime going to a different part of the world and doing something like that. It was a great sense of relief and achievement to reach the top.”
While Michael’s fundraising was significant, there is still £25,000 still needed to bring the club’s ailing nets up to modern standards.
He is keen to host other events to raise more cash, including an event to coincide with the Ashes contest between England and Australia later this summer.
For now, though, he is reflecting on a job well done and added: “I was grateful for every squat and lunge I did in the training.
“The scenery and majesty of the mountain and the night sky was amazing. Not that I spent too much time looking at the stars - we were so tired after the days efforts we were usually tucked up in our sleeping bags by 9pm. It was lights out – literally.
“We struck up a real bond with the guides. It was a bit of a bizarre experience teaching them to say: “Ey up, mi duck” to them, and if you hear that colloquialism in Tanzania in 20 years’ time, then you know who is responsible!”
Michael kept a video diary of his trip and had it professionally edited. You can view this by searching YouTube for ‘Blathers versus Kilimanjaro’
You can also still donate to Michael’s cause online at https://localgiving.com/charity/kimberleyicc