I’m now back from Kilimanjaro, having successfully summited on 17 February! It still doesn’t seem completely real – sometimes I look back and it feels like it was a different person stood at the top of Africa’s highest mountain almost a fortnight ago.

I knew it would be a huge challenge but, partially thanks to some pretty tricky weather conditions, it was even tougher than I’d anticipated. But every step of the way, I was spurred on by the support I’ve received from so many brilliant people from day one.

So much has happened since those first days of this amazing adventure, almost a year ago now. My first major climb to Ben Nevis, way back last summer, was an eye opener but nothing compared to the final ascent to Kilimanjaro. The climb to the summit almost didn’t happen after a blizzard hit our camp on the night of the ascent. But after some tense conversations between the guides, we set off at 1am, fitted with our head torches and poles, and headed for Uhuru – the final peak (standing at 5,895m).

There were times when I felt like my legs wouldn’t carry me to the one point on Earth I’d been working towards for so long, but thankfully our close-knit group all helped each other and we made it to the top. To give you a flavour of how hairy it got, we saw three people from our group taken down the mountain by Medevac during our final ascent.

Now that I’m back, I’m just delighted that I managed to achieve what I set out to do and that my brilliant family, friends and colleagues from across the fashion and textiles sector have helped me to surpass my fundraising target of £5,000! Everyone has been so incredibly generous and I’ve now up past the £8,000 mark, which is more than I could ever have hoped for.

But even though the climb is over, I would love to nudge the donations up to £10,000. I know it’s ambitious, but I really think that we can get there with one last push! If you’ve not yet had the chance to donate, or know someone who would like to support our charity, you can make a donation here.

As well as spurring me on to the top of the mountain, I want everyone to know that people’s generosity has inspired me to re-double my efforts to reach and support as many children as possible through FTCT. The money helps with that, as does building awareness of our charity.

So if this has inspired any of you to take on a challenge yourself, or promote the ideas to your teams, we’d be delighted to have you on board! Take it from someone who’s just got back from their own personal challenge – it can be hard and it may take over your life, but it’s one of the most amazing things you will ever do!

Also, we know that not everyone has the time to commit to a challenge of this nature, or simply don’t see it as their idea of fun! So we want you to know that you can support our charity in many ways, either big or small. Download our fundraising pack or take a look at our volunteering opportunities to find out more. And if you want to be kept informed of future opportunities like this, please subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of our home page here.

Lastly, a huge thank you again to everyone who has supported me along the way, it really does mean so much.