A STUDENT is taking on a gruelling fundraising challenge in order to raise money for charity.

Annabelle Esslemont-Edwards, 21, is currently fundraising money for the charity Meningitis Research Foundation and will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise awareness.

Annabelle, who was born in Crawley and grew up in Horsham, got the idea when walking around her University of Reading campus.

She said: "I could never have imagined I would have the opportunity to do a sporting challenge as spectacular as this while in full time education.

The Argus: Annabelle Esslemont-Edwards will climb Mount Kilimanjaro for the Meningitis Research FoundationAnnabelle Esslemont-Edwards will climb Mount Kilimanjaro for the Meningitis Research Foundation

"Meningitis and new born sepsis are responsible for the deaths of more children under the age of five than malaria, measles, tetanus and AIDs combined, so it's a foundation I feel very passionately about supporting.”

“There is also a significant risk for university students starting in their first year. Teenagers in the first year of university are the second largest risk group. So, there’s another reason that hits a bit closer to home.”

The trip will take place in August 2021. The journey will take nine days with six days spent trekking up the mountain. Annabelle will have to climb up 5,895 metres from sea level to reach the top.

There will be a team of 40 mountaineers from the University of Ready and the University of Exeter going on the trip.

Annabelle will be paying for the trip herself, making sure all donations go to the charity. She has set up a JustGiving page to help raise £3,500 and is currently on £1,600. Annabelle has tried many ways to raise the funds such as including private tutoring, raffles and selling clothes.

She said: “I have been fundraising since November, so it has all been done remotely. This has been really challenging as most fundraisers that bring in lots of money are ones that occur in person, but I have been creative.”

Meningitis is the swelling of the meninges, which is the lining around the brain and spinal cord, caused mainly by germs entering the body. Meningitis Research Foundation is aiming to have a cure by 2030.