TWO life-long friends are about to embark on an adventure to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for a hospice, after having to postpone their plans three times due to Covid.

Andy Brown and Rob Ward from Burgess Hill will set off to climb the 5,895 metre tall mountain in Tanzania later this month, and have already raised over £40,000 for St Peter and St James Hospice.

The pair are raising money for the hospice after supporting Andy's wife of 24 years, Natalie, who died on Christmas Eve in 2019 after being cared for by them since her terminal diagnosis the previous year.

The Argus: Andy Brown (centre right), pictured with his wife Natalie and his children, Joseph and MollyAndy Brown (centre right), pictured with his wife Natalie and his children, Joseph and Molly

Before she passed away, Andy and Rob discussed ways to raise funds for the hospice, with Natalie making them promise to complete the challenge of climbing the highest mountain in Africa after her death.

Rob said: "I witnessed first hand the excellent care and support that was given to Natalie by the hospice and wanted to do something to help raise funds for this fantastic place.

"Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would be in the position we are now having raised so much".

The friends began planning the expedition in January 2020 with the aim of raising £8,000 to pay for a day of care at the hospice.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic forced them to postpone the trip three times, with the pair organising various fundraising events in the meantime, including race nights, sponsored walks and even producing a naked calendar.

Andy said: "Natalie had a zest for life and she would have loved all the events we have been holding in her memory.

"The hospice and staff provided immense support during a very difficult time for Natalie, myself and our children, Joseph and Molly.

"Through taking on these challenges and raising this money, we feel we are going some way to thank them and to help other families who may be going through the same process.

"If Natalie's death doesn't emphasise how important it is to keep living, to have fun and help others then I don't know what does.

"I miss her so much but I feel privileged to have shared her beautiful crazy life and will do all I can to keep living in a way she would have grinned at."

Having raised almost £42,000 already, Andy and Rob have now set the aim of reaching £50,000 for their fundraiser for the hospice.

St Peter and St James Hospice serve terminally ill adults and their families in Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Lewes, Uckfield and the surrounding villages to make sure people living with life-limiting illness get the help and support they need.

People can support Andy and Rob in their endeavour to raise funds for the hospice by donating at

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