An eight-strong team – including Paul and deputy managing director Mark Rix – are trekking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
The prime minister, Manchester celebrities and readers are all wishing the tour well.
Tony Blair wrote: “Please pass on my best wishes to all the walkers on the Kilimanjaro for Kirsty trek and every success in their fundraising efforts.”
Salford artist Harold Riley said: “It seems like many years ago when I went to Kenya and painted the landscape portrait of that great mountain.
It is one of the most beautiful things in Africa and its memory will be an enduring vision for those who attempt to climb it.”
Sir Rod Eddington, chief executive of British Airways, said: “British Airways is delighted to support the Kilimanjaro Climb for the Kirsty Appeal. I would like to add my own personal message of congratulations to the eight intrepid climbers on a magnificent fundraising effort.”
All the comments can be seen on the MEN website.
Editor’s diary, Day 3:
Awesome views of the alpine moorland above the cloud level and our first full view of Kilimanjaro in all its glory were the highlights of day two on the mountain.
After a starlit night at Machame camp, with the sky a myriad of twinkling lights, we set off for today’s climb following a hearty breakfast of porridge, toast and omelettes.
Our guide Elias warned us of the steep 900-metre section and right from the off it was a tough, relentless slog up a steady gradient along a well trodden path.
There were a great number of climbers on this section with many overseas groups – Americans, Spanish and Japanese – following our route.
In a further hour we could see down across the savannah to Moshi with rooftops looking like miniatures. Our only minor casualty has been the MEN deputy postal manager Dave Healey who had a reaction to his Diamox altitude pills and suffered a severe upset stomach. He battled and made the trek, despite feeling weak – but improved once we reached Shira camp.
As we sat on rocks to eat our packed lunch, the scenery was breathtaking – 10,000 feet below us was the alpine moorland and rain forest and, behind and above, the majesty of the Kilimanjaro snow-capped volcano summit another 10,000 ft above our heads.
My only nervous moment came on the final push when we had to scramble over rocks with a drop of 100 feet and the first pangs of vertigo began to descend. It quickly passed, thanks to my team-mates who surrounded me and got me over a tricky ledge.
Tomorrow we head for Barranco Camp at over almost 4,000 metres. We ascended 600 metres and back down again to help acclimatisation. It will be a tough, seven-hour walk.