Fear of walking downhill well and truly put to bed

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014

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Aussie Melinda Sydenham, 24, faced her fear of walking down hills when she climbed Mt Taranaki this week to raise money for a counselling centre in Sydney.

It was a challenge, she said.

"There were a lot of challenges I've overcome. I didn't like walking down hills. I've prayed a lot. I've thought positive thoughts and really relied on my team to get me through it," she said.

Seven trampers, plus five team leaders and two logistics people started their four-day tramp at Lucy's Gully on Monday and walked over to Carrington Rd. On Tuesday they got to the summit from North Egmont and on Wednesday they went from the Camphouse to Holly Hut and yesterday walked out on to Carrington Rd.

And while it was a balmy 27 degrees in their home town, Ms Sydenham and her friends faced icy conditions on the summit on Tuesday.

They did the middle section of their surf to sea challenge last because the weather was folding up, organiser Malcolm Rea said.

The seven trampers were walking to raise $2000 each for the new counselling centre.

So far $13,500 had been collected and they were hoping to get in excess of $15,000, Mr Rea said.

The Australian Government will fund $90,000 of the project and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Australia has to come up with another $90,000.

Mr Rea, who is director of ADRA Services, said the counselling would be a free service. Most of their clients were unemployed, addicted and isolated from society.

In Sydney a big fundraising event is to do the "city to surf', which goes from the CBD to Bondi Beach. "But for this we wanted a serious challenge, so we thought we would come to New Zealand. But that meant an extra cost. The volunteers had to raise $1500 to get here."

Brad Aitken, 23, was the youngest on the trip, had done "heaps" of hiking around Australia.

He thought the mountain was "really beautiful." "I particularly enjoyed the swampy area."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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