HIKING boots at the ready – an uncle and his niece are preparing to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro.
Rob Smithson, 45, from Millfield, is taking on a gruelling 5,895m hike up the mountain in October to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Rob will be joined on his adventure by niece Camilla Hassan, whose dad suffers from MS.
The duo are looking to raise £4,000 for the charity.
Rob already has a charity night at Chaplains pub in Sunderland city centre lined up to help him reach his target.
He said: “I’m more worried about the fund-raising at the minute than the actual climb to be honest.
“It’s a lot of money to raise. Our charity night at Chaplins will have raffles, tombolas and we have the cover band Green Room playing.”
Rob and Camilla, 30, have taken part in the Great North Run to raise cash for the MS Society in the past and are eager to raise as much awareness and money as possible for the charity.
Rob said: “The MS charity is so well ran and the people who volunteer are fantastic.
“Everybody thinks I have taken too much on but it is for a good cause.”
Rob will be running and doing weight training to get in shape before the big climb and with seven-and-a-half days to reach Africa’s biggest peak, he will be staying focused on the challenge ahead.
Rob said: “We will climb for seven hours a day for five days and then on the fifth day we will climb for 13 hours to get to the summit in time to see the sunrise. It is going to be hard going but I’m quite confident we can do it.”
Rob’s charity night will be at Chaplins pub on Saturday, March 17 at 7.30pm. Entry is free and a buffet will be on offer.
To donate money visit Rob’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/robert-smithson or text QMWY85 to 70070.