Climbing a mountain for torture survivors

Dr Patti Gardiner and Dr Alastair Craig prepare to take on the challenge of going up Kilamanjaro for Freedom from Torchure
Dr Patti Gardiner and Dr Alastair Craig prepare to take on the challenge of going up Kilamanjaro for Freedom from Torchure

A HUSBAND and wife will scale the highest peak in Africa next month to support a charity close to their hearts.

Dr Patti Gardiner and Dr Alastair Craig, who both work at the Abbey House Medical Practice in Daventry, are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro at the end of September to raise funds for Freedom from Torture.

The charity, formerly known as the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, has been working for 26 years to provide clinical services to survivors of torture who arrive in the UK.

The charity also strives to protect and promote people’s rights, and since its inception more than 50,000 individuals have been helped.

Both Dr Gardiner and Dr Craig, who live in Daventry, have been involved with the charity since it began.

Dr Craig, 57, will be the medic on this trip for the 26 people from across the UK who are taking on the challenge.

He said: “We’ve done loads of things to raise money including overseas cycle rides in Cuba and Vietnam.

“We’ve also had torture survivors living with us and it’s just unbelievable to see some of things they have been through.

“I don’t think people can understand how much these people have suffered in their lives until they see it for themselves.”

Dr Gardiner, 56, took part in a charity skydive last year to raise cash for the same cause.

But she sees the 5,895 metre Kilimanjaro climb as her toughest challenge yet.

The party will fly out on September 30 before embarking on the six day trek.

She said: “It’s definitely not a holiday.

“I think it will be the toughest challenge we have ever done and we are nervous but very determined at the same time.

“It will be very hard but we are confident.

“For our summer holiday this year we went down to Lands’ End and cycled home to Daventry to help get us fit.

“We are also planning on climbing mountains in Snowdon and Derbyshire to get used of the altitude.

“We’ve supported this charity since it began in 1985, and I now actually work two days a month as a volunteer with torture survivors.

“It’s just a lifelong passion I have for human rights.

“Our aim is to help those who have suffered the horror of oppression and being wrongly imprisoned.

“Our clients have an immense mountain to climb when adjusting from the traumatised, broken individuals who arrive in this country. And now we are climbing a mountain to support them.”

“I’m aiming to raise £2,000 for the charity but obviously I would love to donate as much as possible.”

To sponsor the trek visit the website www.just giving.com/pattigardiner.