Kilimanjaro success despite broken bone

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 December 2017

Annabel and Paul at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Annabel and Paul at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Archant

A dad and daughter duo reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro even after an injury threatened to scupper their plans.

Annabel Richardson, 16, and her dad Paul, from Harpenden, planned to tackle the Tanzanian mountain until Paul broke his collarbone in a cycle ride with the Harpenden Raiders Cycling Club.

Paul, 57, said: “We had booked a family holiday to Mexico, flying out five days after the accident, and I didn’t want to let Annabel or my wife Nadini down, so I put off any treatment and went on the holiday hoping the bones might knit together naturally - they didn’t.”

Needing surgery, Paul, who works as a trustee director for Independent Age, went for an MRI scan at Spire Harpenden Hospital, meeting with consultant orthopaedic surgeon Tony Corner. He explained that Paul’s collarbone was broken in three places, with two of the fractures near the shoulder joint, and that he would need a collarbone reconstruction to get fit in time for the climb.

Annabel, a pupil at Queenswood School in Hatfield, said: “I have to admit I was a bit cross with my dad when I first heard about the injury but I was determined to help him get through it all so I was right behind him as he worked hard to get back to fitness.

“He only had ten weeks from leaving hospital until we started the climb so I was really proud of him when the doctor gave him the okay to climb just a week before we were due to set off!”

To reach the summit, Paul and Annabel had to climb for up to 14 hours a day in the freezing cold. In doing so, they raised £1,400 for the charity War Child.

Annabel said: “Sometimes we actually had to start climbing at midnight – in the pitch dark – and I did suffer a bit from being at high altitude but it was a case of slowly does it and eventually we reached the top.

“It was a fantastic feeling, especially as we had built up such a great friendship with our fellow climbers. Everyone was smiling and hugging each other and although we were all exhausted we were all very happy.”

Paul praised his surgeon and the physio team at Spire Harpenden for helping him get better in time for the expedition. He said: “In the end I am so pleased we did the climb – it really was an unforgettable experience and I was so proud of the way Annabel handled it.”

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