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Norwich man who was homeless vows to climb mountain for charity

Marcus Kilpatrick, who is planning to climb Mount Kilamanjaro to raise money for Christian Aid. Picture: Marcus Kilpatrick

Marcus Kilpatrick, who is planning to climb Mount Kilamanjaro to raise money for Christian Aid. Picture: Marcus Kilpatrick

Archant

He is planning to climb the tallest freestanding mountain on Earth, Mount Kilamanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Photo by MHGALLERYMount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Photo by MHGALLERY

But this is by no means the first hurdle Marcus Kilpatrick, of Mile Cross Lane in Norwich, has ever faced.

The 40-year-old was an army mechanic for about 12 years, serving in Afghanistan in 2006.

And after returning home, Mr Kilpatrick’s relationship broke down and he was left homeless in London with only his car for shelter - which he said was a low-point of his life.

Mr Kilpatrick: “You do feel very alone. I guess I was thinking quite selfishly back then - it was all about me trying survive.”

He was then taken in by a good samaritan and after his story was featured in a national newspaper he was offered a room and managed to find a job.

Mr Kilpatrick then transformed his life becoming Christian, buying a home in Norwich and getting married.

He said the experience had made him grateful for everything he had.

Now he’s giving something back by climbing Africa’s highest peak for Christian Aid to raise money for refugees.

He said: “Now to be married and have all the stuff I’ve got, it makes you think about the people that don’t have it.”

He said rather than just distributing handouts, Christian Aid was committed to helping others out of poverty, which he knows all to well is no good way to live.

He said: “They put the money into tangible projects where they will buy sustainability.

“They buy animals and use the money for bringing fresh water to communities.

“So rather than just giving them a batch of food, they give them the ability to grow their own food.”

Mr Kilpatrick said had already been training for the event, walking with a heavy pack in Norwich’s parks.

He said he was determined to get to the summit and have a good time while doing it.

He said: “I won’t be climbing to the top of Kilamanjaro on my own, I’ll be with a group, but they’ll be a group of strangers.

“I’m hoping we can get to know each other fairly quickly and have a sense of comradeship when we go up the mountain.”

To donate to Mr Kilpatrick’s fundraising effort, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Marcus-Kilpatrick

“Nothing is going to stop me”

Mr Kilpatrick’s climb up Mount Kilimanjaro should take about eight days and is planned for September.

At 19,340ft (5,895m) above sea level, this dormant volcano in Tanzania rises 16,100ft from its base.

Elephants, cape buffaloes warthogs and other animals still roam the forests and plains around the mountain’s lower slopes.

Temperatures can dip to -25 degrees centigrade at night, and at the peak there is only half the amount of oxygen as at sea level.

Mr Kilpatrick said he was looking forward to the challenge, which would cap off a remarkable turnaround in his life since he was left homeless, living out of his car after he left the army and his relationship broke down.

He said: “I turned 40 this year and wanted to carry out an amazing life event for myself, but quickly realised I could help others while completing this challenge.

“I think, with the right mind-set that nothing is going to stop me.”

To find out more about Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.org.uk

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