Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall 'saves' BBC's Dan Walker as emotions run high on Kilimanjaro climb for Comic Relief

Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall saved fellow climber Dan Walker with a song when he suffered altitude sickness during their ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro.

By Gary Welford
Thursday, 28 February, 2019, 09:51
Members of Team Kilimanjaro pose for a selfie as the going gets even tougher on their climb for Comic Relief. Pic: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

The pair are part of a group of nine celebrities who are trying to conquer the 19,000ft mountain for Comic Relief.

On day five, BBC Breakfast presenter Walker suffered a bout of altitude sickness, but said he was saved by South Shields singer Jade.

Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall hugs a fellow member of Team Kilimanjaro during their climb for Comic Relief. Pic: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

He said: "I had really bad altitude sickness but Jade, even though I can't quite remember it, sang Africa by Toto to me, and she gave me a strawberry lace. She saved me!"

Jade, 26, who, like the rest of the group is an inexperienced climber, said: “I helped Dan when he was really poorly - I did a bit of singing for him.

"His altitude sickness put him in a weird mood and he joked that I was a rubbish singer!

"Ha, luckily I wasn't too offended. I forgave him because I knew he was unwell."

Members of Team Kilimanjaro pose for a picture as they take a breather during their climb for Comic Relief. Pic: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

Team Kilimanjaro also includes Jade's bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Strictly's Shirley Ballas, Love Island's Dani Dyer, presenters Anita Rani and Alexander Armstrong, former shadow chancellor Ed Balls and sports pundit Osi Umenyiora.

Professor Greg Whyte, who is climbing with the group, said: "We're at 4,000 metres now which is about 13,000 ft, and of course that has a profound effect on the body.

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"It's mentally where it really does take the pressure, and what it does is it heightens emotions and we see that with the guys here.

"We see people breaking into tears at the slightest thing because the emotions are so affected.

"The top of Kilimanjaro is 6,000 metres away, it’s over a mile higher than we currently are, so what’s happened so far is just going to get worse and worse as we continue the climb.”

Team morale is becoming vital and strong friendships are being formed, as the celebs begin to feel the effects of the extreme altitude on their bodies.

Return to Kilimanjaro is 10 years on since Gary Barlow, Alesha Dixon, Fearne Cotton, Cheryl, Kimberley Walsh, Ben Shepherd, Ronan Keating, Denise Van Outen and Chris Moyles took on Africa's highest mountain for Comic Relief.

This year the climbers are taking on a different, tougher, longer route, spending even more time at extreme altitude.

Their ascent is being documented for a special documentary, which will be shown on BBC One at 9pm on Wednesday, March 13.

Red Nose Day 2019 is on Friday, March 15. You can make a donation online at comicrelief.com/Kilimanjaro