Former Brighton & Hove Albion defender Vicky Ashton-Jones recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Albion in the Community (AITC), and she spoke the incredible experience of reaching the summit.
The hike, which took almost seven days to complete, was equal to around 42,000 steps or 270 flights of stairs and Ashton-Jones burnt off 5,000 calories in an experience that was described as ‘amazing’.
She said, “On the way up I was trying to take everything in, it’s such an incredible place and I didn’t know what to expect.
“The tranquillity and simplicity of the place was stunning and the silence was noticeable. It was a very hard climb, but we were very focussed on our aim, what we were doing and why we were there. There was no phones, we just hiked, ate, rested, recovered and slept; it was just a repetition of that.
“Tanzania as a country was a massive eye-opener for me. I’ve never been to Africa, so the experience of getting there, climbing the mountain and reaching the summit was amazing.”
“When I first got to the top, the overriding emotion was relief because it was a long, long hike. It was a massive physical achievement, and it was even more special when we reached the summit as only around 60% of people who attempt it actually reach the top.
“It’s a massive self-achievement and I’m proud of myself for doing it, but more importantly to raise money for such a worthy cause.”
Ashton-Jones has almost reached her overall target of £1,000, and said she would appreciate any further support from anyone who would be able to donate.
“I’ve currently raised £910 and my goal is to raise £1,000. I’m still very happy with what I’ve raised and never in a million years would I have expected to raise that amount of money for such a fantastic charity, but if I could get to £1,000 that would be even more incredible.”
The former Seagulls centre-back still keeps an eye out for Albion’s results and spoke about the team's impressive recent comeback against Everton, where Hope Powell's side recovered from 3-1 down to claim a 3-3 draw.
“I still keep up-to-date with both the men’s and the women’s teams and it’s a club I hold dear to my heart.
“I think they’re finding their feet and are now starting to kick-on. The result against Everton showed their determination, and I don’t think many teams would have been able to fight back like they did, so they should be very proud of themselves."
You can donate to Vicky’s Just Giving page and help her reach her £1,000 target by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vickyashton-jones
Inspired by Ashton-Jones’ exploits? AITC has a number of challenges currently running as part of its 2018/19 Get Active for AITC campaign. Find out more – or sign up for a challenge now – by visiting: https://www.albioninthecommunity.org.uk/getactive/