South Shields adventurer climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with his daughter and her best friend in memory of loved ones
Freelance expedition leader Steve Berry, of South Shields has been climbing the world’s highest mountains for more than 30 years.
In 2017, the 64-year-old became one of just a few hundred people to have climbed the highest peaks on each of the world’s seven continents.
On Saturday, February 1 he will set off on his 13th trip to scale the 5,895 metres of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania - but for the first time with his own daughter.
Kirsti Berry, 35 and best friend Laura Wilkinson, 29, have joined Steve on the trek for two causes very close to Laura’s heart.
The air hostess has already raised more than £1,500 for the Huntington's Disease Association and 4Louis, which supports those affected by childloss.
Her grandad Maurice passed away from Huntingtons in 2017, while 4Louis was chosen in memory of her goddaughter Emberly Mae who sadly died in 2019, after it helped the family create a special memory box for their daughter.
The climb, which is expected to take seven days, will see them follow a route Steve knows well, but he says this will be a trip like no other.
“It's a huge responsibility, it’s probably the most nervous I have felt about anything I have done - even climbing Everest,” he said, speaking to the Gazette before they set off on Saturday morning.
“The push towards the summit is a big day, it's really tiring and plays with your head. A lot of it is down to how determined you are.
“It’s a completely new experience for the girls and I really want them to reach the summit.”
In 2012 Steve climbed Kilimanjaro with his nephew, Rhys English which he says was a “special moment” - no doubt reaching the summit with his daughter will be up there too.
“It will be a fantastic achievement for the girls,” he added.
“It’s going to be very emotional, I think there will be a few tears.”