Taking gran's memory on one last journey

Debra Ridgway gets some training in on the Tongariro Crossing ahead of her trip to Mt Kilimanjaro.
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Debra Ridgway gets some training in on the Tongariro Crossing ahead of her trip to Mt Kilimanjaro.

Debra Ridgway and her late grandmother shared a love of travelling and they still have one more adventure left.

Ridgway and her grandmother, Agnes Stanton

had talked about a trip to Kilimanjaro for more than 15 years and when Agnes died, she left special instructions for her granddaughter to go ahead and climb it anyway.

"It has been a conscious decision to use it to do this trip in her memory," Ridgway said.

"And it's a way of saying thank you to Lake Taupō Hospice for all the care she received in her last phase of life."

Ridgway will leave for Kilimanjaro at the end of this month but won't be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro until early October.

"Part of my adventure is honouring and remembering Gran' by taking her up the mountain with me," she said.

"I want to carry part of her in a tangible and physical way, because there's no way I could go up myself without her encouragement, support and financial support that she gave me."

Ridgway's climb will also serve as a way to raise money for Lake Taupō Hospice.

"When I started working at Lake Taupo Hospice I saw that there were so many people who were climbing their own mountains and that perhaps, too, would like in some way to be able to go up Mt Kilimanjaro," she said.

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And that's when Ridgway's idea was born.

Her grandmother loved fabric, so Ridgway thought that creating a banner, made up of squares of fabric, to fly the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, would be the perfect way to create a tangible memory of her.

"Plus, it will provide a perfect chance for others to 'go to the top' in spirit, even if they can't do it in person," she said.

To climb Mt Kilimanjaro with Ridgway, people can buy squares of the banner which can be dedicated to the memory of someone, or simply represent the support of the individual donor or their family.

Two hundred squares are available at $50 each. There are other ways to help out and all money raised will go to the Hospice.

For more information on how to help, phone the Hospice on 07 377 4252

 - Stuff

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