I’d always been attracted to the idea of trekking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. I probably noticed the adverts offering charity treks to the mountain soon after I returned from a trip to Everest Base Camp at the end of a ‘Round The World’ tour in 2017. I thought—‘one day….Yes’. And here we are now with just four weeks to go before my partner, Gita, and I set off to Kilimanjaro International Airport to begin what I think will be quite a challenging six-day climb.

I am a fit, but creaking, 72-year-old and Gita is a slightly less creaking 66-year-old…..and SCT….well, our paths first crossed about five years ago when, as a Psychiatric Social Worker for Tower Hamlets Council, I brought some items to the SCT charity shop in Watney Market, in Shadwell, East London. I had been helping an elderly couple declutter their flat and the obvious place to take the items was the charity shop. While there, I took some leaflets describing the work they do to show them to my colleagues in case they had people they might want to refer for drug or alcohol addiction help. When it came to planning the Kilimanjaro trip, I immediately thought of increasing the significance of the journey by trying to fundraise for the SCT charity. I contacted the Fundraising Manager, and she told me about ‘Just Giving’ and within a few days, we were up and running.

With the current worldwide scourge of drug and alcohol addiction and homelessness, charities like SCT are vital in helping people get their lives back on track.

I remember only too well trying to get help for my neighbour and friend, who was dependent on alcohol. We took him to the local hospital but they would not treat him. They said we should get help from the local alcohol services. We took him to the local alcohol services but he needed to drink a litre of cider just to walk one hundred metres. They said they had a rule that they couldn’t assess people if they were under the influence of alcohol. We said if he was sober he wouldn’t need their help. It was just impossible to get him any help. He drank himself to death in 1996.

So ‘Hats off’ to SCT. All money raised will go to a vital service.