Life changed for Paul Emmerson when he climbed the fabled African peak Mount Kilimanjaro

After descending the 5,895m (19, 340ft) dormant volcano in Tanzania, Paul bought a tanzanite stone which he got cast into an engagement ring for his then girlfriend, Jackie.

The couple, who have five children between them, married in 2016 at Armathwaite Hall Hotel near Bassenthwaite in north Cumbria.

Paul said: “The trip was amazing and while I was there, I purchased the tanzanite stone which I got cast into an engagement ring for Jackie. She loves the story behind the ring and tells it to anyone who listens!”

His Kilimanjaro challenge raised almost £11,000 for the Jigsaw children’s hospice in Carlisle, through corporate sponsorship, donations from friends and family and a fundraising night.

Now seven years after the trip, Paul is planning another major climb, again in aid of Jigsaw. He is to climb Kang Yatse in the Himalayas to celebrate turning 50 this year with friend Darren Jones. They are due to go in September 2021.

Paul, who is an electrical contracts manager with Carlisle electrical engineering company, Park Gate, started trekking around 12 years ago.

He explained: “I began walking leisurely in the Lake District and then we formed a group of four at work to walk Hadrian’s Wall to raise money for a work colleague who has a disabled son. As a group we raised around £7,000.

“Following that I did the Three Peaks Challenge climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours. We did it just for the fun of it really but ended up getting soaked through on each one!

“Then during a beer-fuelled night Darren introduced me to the prospect of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I did this in October 2013 with a group I had just met at Heathrow Airport. Darren had done it three times previously as a medic and didn’t go on this trip.

“It was amazing, and I met a fabulous group of friends who I am still in regular contact with.”

Plans for Paul and Darren’s Himalayan trip have developed over the past couple of years after they decided they needed a new challenge.

Paul, who went to the now closed Eden School in Rickerby Park, said: #

“We came up with the idea of climbing the 6,153m (20,187ft) Stok Kangri in the Himalayas as this would be the first 20,000 ft peak for both of us and would form part of my 50th birthday year celebrations.

“Sadly, the mountain has been closed for a few years to let the land regenerate, so we are now doing Kang Yatse, which at 6,400m (20,997ft) is slightly higher than Stok Kangri.

“I am raising funds again for Jigsaw so any help would be greatly appreciated.”

To donate to Paul’s challenge please click here. 

Sam Johnston, Events Lead at Eden Valley was full of praise for Paul’s forthcoming adventure.

He said: "It is amazing Paul has chosen to support Jigsaw again by completing this challenge in Nepal. It looks like a spectacular and memorable challenge and the money raised by Paul really will make a huge difference at the children's hospice.

“Jigsaw is the only children's hospice in the county and the support of Paul and the local community, allows us to offer the highest standards of care, support and activities to local children and young adults with life limiting illnesses.”

Coincidentally Eden Valley Hospice will celebrate its 30th anniversary next Autumn with a different 12-day challenge to Nepal which will see participants taking in some of the highlights of the Himalayas.

They will also help with a hospice project in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Hospice Nepal was set up by a team of local doctors in 2000 to provide free medicines, therapies, and support for those in need. Over two days they will paint rooms and improve kitchen and bathroom facilities.

To find out more about the hospice's Nepal Trek and Community Project please click here.