A dream climb is grounded

This Is Wiltshire: Cerianne Pidgeon pictured looking forward to her Mount Kilimanjaro adventure, which has now been cancelled Cerianne Pidgeon pictured looking forward to her Mount Kilimanjaro adventure, which has now been cancelled

STUDENT Cerianne Pidgeon has been left devastated after her trip to climb to the roof of Africa was cancelled despite raising thousands of pounds for charity.

The 21-year-old from Nythe, who was to climb Kilimanjaro with Student Adventures, is one of thousands of students across the country affected after the company went bust. “I’m absolutely gutted,” she said. I feel like I’ve been done over. We worked so hard to raise all the money and it just feels like it was for nothing.”

Cerianne, who studies at the University of Portsmouth, signed up to the challenge due to take place next Tuesday with her partner, James Whelan, in March to raise money for Practical Action.

They each needed to raise £2,850 to take part, and had spent the last few months fundraising.

“We were busy studying and had to raise the money all through our exams and everything. I just feel really disappointed. We raised all that money and all those people sponsored us to do this and it’s just not happening.

“WASP Industrial Services also donated a lot of money to me and James – 10 per cent of April’s takings, which came to about £2,500, and another £925 that was raised at a fundraiser. They also paid for all our kit for the trip.”

Although the youngsters still have their flights booked, there is no return flight planned and no on-the-ground arrangements in place once they land.

Cerianne said: “When we signed up we had to put down a £300 deposit to book and raise all the money on top for the charity, which was also to cover the cost of the trip.”

Several students were at the airport on Thursday preparing to board flights to Tanzania on earlier trips to Kilimanjaro organised by the same company when the firm announced promised arrangements had been cancelled.

Student Adventures said: “We are unable to provide any services for you as a customer of ours whilst you are in-country in Tanzania.

“We are deeply sorry that we have not been able to meet our commitments to you and it was our honest intention to fulfil our service and obligation to you.”

Josh Webb, from Cricklade, is currently on a Student Adventures trip in Peru. He managed to get a message home yesterday. “We heard the company has gone into administration, but we’re all OK.”

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