Luxembourg Stoke City fan rises to charity challenge
A Stoke City fan who founded a supporters' club in Luxembourg has helped raise more than 100,000 euros for charity by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Paul Gallimore, 53, completed the gruelling five-day Mount Kilimanjaro charity hike at the beginning of the month, proudly posing at the first of three points on the mountain, at 5,895-metres, in his Stoke City football jersey.
“My guide (an Arsenal Supporter) promised to take it (the shirt) up if I was unable to make it. Without the support of my guide I may never have made it,“ Paul told wort.lu/en, adding: “As far as I am concerned this is what it means to be a supporter of the club: no matter the obstacles, no matter the difficulties encountered, no matter how long it takes, one way or the other, we will get to the top.”
Paul was part of a group participating in the trip organised by David Steinegger, to raise funds for SOS Village D’Enfant and visit one of the charity's three children's villages in Arusha, Tanzania. The group set off on March 2, crossing rainforests and Alpine deserts and sleeping in tents before reaching the peak in time to see the sun rise the following Tuesday.
Altogether, they raised a whopping 111,209 euros for the charity's SOS children's village in Arusha.
“Travelling to the village took us through some very poor and rundown neighbourhoods. I have seen poverty before but nothing like this," Paul said. "I was very surprised and a little overwhelmed to see the amount of effort put in by the staff of the village and school to make the best of their situation. Sometimes you feel giving aid is like a drop in the ocean but the support given to this village has had a very positive effect.”
SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde Managing Director Sophie Molitor praised the efforts of the group. She said: “It was a real challenge. It felt absolutely surreal standing on Uhuru Peak, while at the same time being completely aware of the reality and of what we had achieved. In that particular moment I thought especially of the children who are taken care of in the SOS school in Arusha and all of those who, thanks to this enormous fundraising effort, will now be able to go to school”.
The children's village in Arusha accommodates hundreds of children from kindergarten age up to young adults. Since 2004, the village has its own school, teaching 387 students, and it opened a Family Strengthening Programme in 2007 to empower families and communities to become self sufficient.
An SOS Medical centre is currently under construction at the site, offering a pharmacy, examination rooms, archive, laboratory, office and counselling.