A FORMER John Masefield High School pupil has personal reasons for tackling Mount Kilimanjaro on behalf of a medical charity.

Catherine Okey, aged 19 and a music student at Bristol University, will be raising funds for Meningitis Research by braving altitude sickness and cold on Africa’s highest mountain.

She said: “A few of my friends have had meningitis and a niece who lives in Nottingham, Abbi Hodkinson, is profoundly deaf, because she had the illness as a baby.”

Miss Okey, of Hazel Close, Ledbury, said of the climb: “I am expecting it to be tough, and I’m worried about the altitude sickness, as well as the physical climb.

“Kilimanjaro is a lot bigger than the Malverns.”

She will travel to Tanzania for the climb next September.

In the meantime, when she is home from university, she uses the Malverns for training walks. She also plans to travel to Snowdonia for more challenging terrain.

Although it is in tropical Tanzania, Mt Kilimanjaro is famous for its snow-capped summit.

Miss Okey said: “I’ll be trekking for seven days to the summit of Kilimanjaro at 5,895m to help fund vital research, life-saving awareness and individual support for those affected. The fund-raising is just as much of a challenge as the trek itself, and in some ways more daunting.

“I'm hoping to raise £2,800 for meningitis research through organising open mic nights, pub quizzes, supermarket bag packs and cake sales.

“I also have a JustGiving page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Catherine Okey.”