Will conquers Kilimanjaro in memory of wife

Will Roberts, 71, at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro
Will Roberts, 71, at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro
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Seventy-two-year-old Will Roberts reached the summit of Kilimanjaro in his bid to raise money for Motor Neuron Disease Scotland.

The retired RAF navigator, of Cavers, managed to make it to the top of the highest mountain in Africa in memory of his late wife, Ellie, who passed away in 2012 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Will said: “I expected the whole experience to be tough and it really was.

“The hardest part for me was the final ascent to the summit on the fourth day of climbing. We went to bed early the night before and got up at midnight so we were exhausted and walking in complete darkness which I did find particularly tough.

“Getting to the top, though, gave you such an amazing sense of achievement and the views were stunning.”

The whole experience was eased ever so slightly by the porters who helped the 28-strong team on their journey.

“The porters we had were unbelievable,” said Will.

“At the start we all introduced ourselves to one another and I had mentioned that I was a grandfather.

“For the whole climb after that I was referred to as ‘Babu’ which means grandfather in Swahili.

“It was wonderful to see the amount of respect that they hold for their elders and they really did help me and everyone else a lot.”

Although it took four days to reach the top, the team were only given two days to return to the bottom which Will described as “a helter-skelter”.

Will and a few of the team had a few days to explore and recover after the trip and took the chance to go on safari.

He added: “We saw such a wide range of beautiful wildlife and the trip was a very sobering experience.”

So far, Will has raised around £8,500 and the team altogether raised £210,000.

He would like to thank everyone in Hawick and Denholm who has supported his trip or donated to MNDS.