19,334ft climb - because she loves animals

AN animal-loving Great Yarmouth vets’ receptionist is appealing for donations as she prepares to climb Africa’s highest mountain in aid of an animal charity.

Joanna Morrison, 41, who works at Haven Veterinary Surgeons, aims to raise �3,500 for PACT Animal Sanctuary in Norwich, which cares for over 600 rescued animals, ranging from hamsters to horses and budgies to peacocks.

She will be starting her two-week Kilimanjaro adventure on April 16, heading to Tanzania with a staff member at the sanctuary and a number of other charity trekkers.

The mountain recently featured on a TV series with a host of celebrities battling against the elements to reach the summit and raise funds for Comic Relief – some didn’t make it.

Her mission has been inspired by her love for rescued animals, as she has three rescued cats of her own – tabby Holly, 15, black and white long-haired Saskia, 10, and black and white domestic short hair Jumaane, three.

She also owns a number of rescued goldfish.

Joanna, who lives in Castle Green, Gorleston, has already visited Africa twice before when she taught children in Kisumu, Kenya in 2004 and 2005.

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Her training has involved regular trips to the gym where she has been working on the stepper, cross trainer and treadmill to prepare her for the trip to Kilimanjaro’s summit, 19,334ft above sea level. The mountain comprises three volcanic cones Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira, two of which (Mawenzi and Shira) are extinct while Kibo is dormant.

However, Ms Morrison said although it was important, fitness alone would not be enough to enable climbers to reach the peak. Climbers also needed to conquer the threat of altitude sickness, an element that affected some Comic Relief celebrities.

She added: “I am really animal mad and that is why I chose the animal sanctuary. I will crawl on my knees if I have to to get to the top of the mountain.”

To sponsor Joanna, either visit her at Haven Vets in Queen Anne’s Road or phone her on 07845 822254.