CHILDHOOD friends Christopher Fenton and George Jerram are preparing for the adventure of a lifetime.
The pair are joining England cricketing star Ashley Giles and former England women’s captain Clare Connor in a bid to play the highest game of cricket ever.
They will be trekking up Mt Kilimanjaro next month with 33 other intrepid players and supporters aiming to raise £500,000 to help cancer research, endangered African wildlife and build an international standard cricket and sports stadium in war devastated Rwanda.
Chris, 26, who used to play for Crudwell Cricket Club as a teenager and George, 27, another cricket fan from Dauntsey, both work in London as chartered surveyors.
But they are working on their fitness before they set off on September 20 on a seven day hike that will take them to 5,785 metres above sea level – 685 metres higher than the current record set in 2006 above Everest Base Camp.
Having risked altitude sickness on the way, they will then set out the stumps and play a 20/20 match before enjoying some cucumber sandwiches.
“This is the first time I’ve been involved with an expedition like this,” said an excited Chris from Long Newnton. “I’m very into my sport and I’ve been lucky enough to go to Africa a few times.
“It is going to be quite a challenge. We’re just trying to organise ourselves and get all the kit together.
Keen amateur cricketer David Harper is organizing the adventure. “As I passed 40 it dawned on me the only way I was ever going to play cricket at the highest level was if I took a game to the top of a mountain.”
He said: “Playing at the top of Mt Kilimanjaro will bring a world record to Africa, raise significant sponsorship for three very worthwhile charities, and help raise awareness of the harm that poaching is doing to wildlife across the continent, as well as allowing me to indulge my fantasy of playing against some high quality international cricketers.”
South African legend Makhaya Ntini, who was the country’s first black test cricketer, is a member of the squad along with conservationist Aliya Bauer, who took the sport to Northern Maasailand and England women’s team member Heather Knight.
The three charities to benefit are Cancer Research UK, Tusk and the Rwandan Cricket Stadium Foundation.
To sponsor the players go to the Mt Kili Madness Virginmoneygiving page or visit mtkilimadness.com. The expedition is also looking for corporate sponsors.