Mother and son aim to reach the roof of Africa

Claire Buzzeo and her son George Buzzeo from Netherwitton Mill-off to climb Kilimanjaro.'REF 0903158941
Claire Buzzeo and her son George Buzzeo from Netherwitton Mill-off to climb Kilimanjaro.'REF 0903158941

A woman who has battled depression for many years has set herself a huge challenge to raise funds for a mental health charity.

And Claire Buzzeo will be joined on her trek up Africa’s highest mountain by her ‘rock’ – 15-year-old son George.

They will fly out to Tanzania in July. The summit of Mt Kilimanjaro is at an altitude of 5,895 metres.

Claire has suffered from clinical depression since the age of 15 and she successfully battled anorexia in her 20s. She has also had to deal with severe asthma in recent years.

The Netherwitton resident, who also lives with partner John and sons Thomas, 10, and Arthur, eight, is aiming to raise £8,000 for Mind. The charity provides advice and support to those experiencing mental health problems.

She said: “I turned 40 last September and I decided the time was right to try a big challenge, when I was able to do it, that would also raise awareness of mental health issues.

“My asthma was bad at the time and when I recovered from that, I was taken to hospital in January as my clinical depression had returned.

“I was referred back to my GP, which was frustrating, but with the support of my partner and sons, my parents and my two sisters and brother, I got better.

“I have always wanted to climb a big mountain and thought it’s now or never, so I signed up for a Mt Kilimanjaro trek. I’m a bit scared, but mainly very excited.

“I gave birth to George when I had anorexia, which was a miracle in itself, and despite only being 15, he has already been a rock of support for me for quite a few years.

“The trek organisers have allowed him to come with me given my circumstances and he was cock-a-hoop when I told him. I will do my utmost to get to the top of Kilimanjaro because it would be a fantastic experience for him.

“We’ll also be raising money to support the important work of Mind. There’s a lot of people out there with mental health problems who don’t have any family members or friends to support them.”

Claire and George, a King Edward VI School student, are going on regular walks up Simonside and they will attend a training weekend at Snowdonia in Wales.

They are doing some fund-raising activities themselves and they have already received a number of donations, including £1,000 from Benfield Motors.

For more information and to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/TeamBuzzeo