Couple to scale Mt Kilimanjaro for St Luke’s

THE memory of a much-loved nurse at Basildon Hospital and the ambition and aspiration of an adventurous couple taking on an African challenge will prove a boost for St Luke’s Hospice.Vicky Nelson, 39, and her partner Paul Broadbent, 45, will be travelling to Africa next year to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and they will be sponsored to raise funds for the hospice, based at Nethermayne in Basildon which serves the town and communities in Billericay and Thurrock.The couple will be paying their own expenses for the trip in October so every penny they raise in sponsorship will go straight to helping the Hospice meet it annual running cost target of £5.5m.And the Kingswood-based couple have been boosted in their fundraising campaign by Les Irving, landlord of the Owl and Pussycat pub who has pledged to help the local duo in their fundraising.Les’s mum, Pansie Irving-Daniels was a popular nurse at Basildon and when she became ill her end of life care was carried out by St Luke’s, something for which Les will be forever grateful.”St Luke’s was superb for my mum. The care they showed her was tremendous and I will never forget it. It’s a real pleasure to be able to help Vicky and Paul in raising funds for St Luke’s and I am sure the regulars at the pub will really get behind them.”Already Vicky and Paul, together with les, have arranged a series of quiz nights at the pub, the first taking place on Thursday, 20 October from 7.30. Entry will be £2 per head and there will also be a raffle on the evening.Vicky, who works at a Kingswood store, said: “Paul and I have been talking for some time about doing something different and we contacted St Luke’s, where Paul has been a volunteer in the past, and they suggested the Kilimanjaro trek and in about a week it’s gone from being an idea to us getting booked up and starting to fundraise. It’s really exciting and we have been amazed at the support we have already received from friends, family, workmates and people like Les.”Paul, who works in the European warranty department for Ford at Warley, is also excited by the challenge ahead. He said: “I have always been pleased to help out at St Luke’s on projects in the past but this is taking it to a new level. Vicky and I have talked about doing something life-changing and challenging and we think this is exactly what the Kilimanjaro trek and climb will prove to be.”We know it’s going to be tough but we have a year to get ready for it and we are determined to raise a significant mount of money for St Luke’s as well as have a wonderful experience. The support we have had so far has been tremendous and I would like to thank everyone, including my workmates at Ford, for supporting us so farand I am sure there is a lot more to come.”The couple have already organised a series of fundraising evenings at the Maharaja restaurant in Benfleet and look forward to arranging other event.To support Vicky and Paul visit

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