Climbing the Kilimanjaro with Jo Kearsley

Here at THL, we try to empower our services users to surpass themselves and what a brilliant example for them to see one of our supporter achieving such a challenge! This is exactly what Jo did for us. She set herself the target to climb Kilimanjaro and although she didn’t get to the top, she overcame barriers that she didn’t imagine she could! We are very proud of her achievements and so, we asked Jo for some insights on her experience and here what she said.


1. So Jo, could you tell us a little bit about you and how you got to know about THL?

I work at Nationwide Building Society and two years ago we were looking at a charity to support for our area.  I chose THL because they do excellent work for the homeless in Swindon and I wanted to raise awareness on this subject


2. How did you come to the idea of climbing the Kilimanjaro in support of Threshold?

I wanted to combine my challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro with raising some monies and good for THL.  By advertising it on social media and also by getting the local press to be involved.  This would also raise awareness of the homeless crisis we have in swindon.

3. We know that you went on your own up there, which in itself must have been a big adventure. Could you tell us how you felt?

I arranged it myself but there were 3 other people who wanted to climb the same time as I did, I didn’t know them (they were Americans) but it calmed me a bit knowing that I wouldn’t be totally on my own (ie with other climbers).  I felt quite nervous but also excited to be completing one of my dreams after so long! I had been planning the trip for 3 years!  Once I arrived in Tanzania and met with the guides and fellow climbers I felt much calmer

4. How was your experience? In retrospect, would you have changed anything?

It was the hardest thing I have ever done and that is after 25 years in the Army but it was also the best thing I have ever don’t.  But I never once felt – WHAT HAVE I DONE – I enjoyed the whole experience, even not being able to breathe properly and feeling really very ill at times.  I would not have changed a thing, I was well prepared, the people were fabulous and the company I went with were super.

5. Have you got any tips for anyone that would like to climb the Kilimanjaro?

My tips would be, plan, plan, plan and chat to someone who has been up – that helped me a lot – borrow stuff you need to use rather than buy it and book some respite at the end of the climb – you are so tired afterwards!


We must also say that through her efforts, Jo raised £2,500 for the charity, which will help us carrying on offering our services to some of the most vulnerable people in Swindon. Thank you Jo for making a difference!



If you too, would love to climb Kilimanjaro, has a great idea for an experience of a lifetime and would like to dedicate it to our work, please get in touch with us at

Swindon // 1 John Street // SN1 1RT