Blairgowrie Advertiser

Alex’s epic charity trek

Climb to honour brother


A Blairgowri­e family is celebratin­g a big charity success after smashing an initial target and raising more than £4000 for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

In February, accountant Alex Howes decided to undertake a major challenge – setting foot on the top of Kilimanjar­o, which is Africa’s highest peak.

To mark the approachin­g first anniversar­y of the loss of his eldest brother, Stuart, on September 6 last year at the age of 53, Alex wished to raise £1500 for the heart condition charity.

He has now raised almost three times that amount after climbing 6000 metres up imposing landmark.

Alex, Stuart and their other brother Andrew grew up in Blairgowri­e with their parents, Isobel and Bill.

All of the immediate family still live in the town.

Alex said: “It’s just incredible to think we have raised more than £4200 in Stuart’s name and for a charity that is so close to all our hearts.

“I had been thinking about climbing Kilimanjar­o for a few years and Stuart’s death, at such a young age, motivated me to take it on. It means something positive has come out of the saddest of times.”

Stuart, Alex and Andrew were all very close and pupils at Blairgowri­e High School during the 1980s.

Alex has paid tribute to everyone who donated to his challenge.

“I cannot thank them enough,” he explained. “Stuart was so well-loved and is very much missed by everyone who knew him.

“My family and their friends and work colleagues in and around Blairgowri­e played a huge part in helping to raise so much.”

Alex now lives in Stoke on Trent and is an accountant in the finance department at the Royal Wolverhamp­ton NHS Trust.

He described the trek as an “unforgetta­ble experience”.

He continued: “The actual climb was unbelievab­ly difficult and factors such as sleeping conditions, altitude sickness and tiredness didn’t help but it was all so worth it.”

Alex’s achievemen­ts are even more remarkable given that he was involved in a road accident at the age of 19, after which his parents were told there was a high likelihood he might never walk again.

However the teenager defied the odds to make a full recovery.

The money raised by Alex’s adventure will now help the BHF continue to fund potentiall­y life-saving research into heart and circulator­y diseases.

In the 1960s, the decade the BHF was founded, seven out of 10 heart attacks in the UK were fatal.

Now, thanks in part to research the BHF has helped to fund, at least seven out of 10 people survive.

April Davidson, BHF Scotland area fundraisin­g manager, said: “We really are indebted to Alex for taking on such an incredible challenge to raise money for the BHF in memory of his brother, Stuart.

“Our research to help the 700,000 people in Scotland living with heart and circulator­y diseases is only made possible because of the generosity of amazing fundraiser­s.

“Their efforts mean we can continue to fund life-saving research to help us find the breakthrou­ghs, treatments and cures of the future and turn research that once seemed like science fiction into reality.”

Donations to Alex’s fundraisin­g page can still be made.

See the sebsite https://www.gofundme. com/f/stuart-kilimanjar­o for more informatio­n and to pledge support.

 ?? ?? Africa adventure Alex Howes, who is originally from Blairgowri­e
Africa adventure Alex Howes, who is originally from Blairgowri­e

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