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Caister girl who roves world as reporter

PUBLISHED: 09:43 04 November 2011

CROWN COPYRIGHT

A WAR reporter’s traumatic experience of the front line has inspired a trek to Mount Everest in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for Help for Heroes.

Kaija Gosling, born in Great Yarmouth, will embark on a gruelling 19-day hike to Everest base camp after witnessing the horrors of modern warfare during a 13-week spell in Afghanistan.

The journey will see the former BBC and ITV journalist joined by injured serviceman and involve hiking for 9 hours per day in temperatures as low as -15C

The 33-year-old begins her trip when she flies to Nepal today, with the aim of climbing up to 17,598ft by the end of the expedition.

And Caister High School have already shown support for their former pupil by collecting £350 through a non-school uniform day.

She said: “In the 13 weeks that I was based in Helmand there were dozens of British soldiers who were killed or injured. When you’re at home the death of a soldier gets a mention on the news, but then most people get on with their daily chores again.

“Out there when it happens the alert system goes off, you hear the helicopter ambulance fly in and then you see the paramedics rush the casualties to hospital. It is so much more than a name or number.

“It just brings it all so much closer to home, and for every soldier who’s killed many more are injured and they will need support for the rest of their lives.”

Kaija, who works for British Forces Broadcasting Services, spent 13 weeks last year working with British and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

During this time, she visited the Camp Bastion hospital, lived with soldiers and took foot patrols where roadside bombs were found.

There will be 25 people on the trek, including two injured soldiers, one of whom is partially paralysed below the waist after being shot in the back in Iraq in 2007.

She continued: “When you see someone, maybe ten years, or even fifteen years, younger than me who has had his legs blown off you expect them to be down on life, but most of them have the most positive outlook and always make me smile. I think if that happened to me I’d find it hard to carry on, but they just fight on and do it all with a smile on their faces too”

The reporter attended Caister High School and Great Yarmouth College before training as a journalist and moving to Surrey.

She will be taking the challenge with her husband Nicholas. Together, the couple have already raised more than £4,000 for the charity that helps wounded veterans.

Her parents, Barbara and Stephen Larke of Larke Estate Agents Great Yarmouth, said: “We’re very proud of Kaija. We didn’t sleep properly for three months when she was deployed to Afghanistan but thankfully she was lucky enough to come home safe and sound. Not everyone does.

“She’s seen first hand the damage these roadside bombs can do and we’re so proud she and her husband have taken up the challenge of Everest to support these young men and women who are not so lucky and the work of the charity Help for Heroes.”

If you wish to sponsor Kaija, then donate online by visiting www.bmycharity.com/H4HEverest2011


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