When it comes to unusual ways to fundraise, yomping up the highest mountain in the UK for a pole dancing party has to be top of the pile.
Kay Penney, of Maidenbower, did just that on Saturday (July 12) when she and 11 others set off on their 1,344metre climb to the top of Ben Nevis armed with walking boots, rain gear and a pole.
Soaked through by mist and rain, Kay and her son Alan, 18, plodded up the mountain carrying parts of the disassembled pole.
Ahead of them were the rest of their party, who were also carrying parts of the pole.
Kay, 48, tackled the climb in memory of her mother, Ann Minshaw, who died of liver cancer in 2010, aged 64, at St Luke’s Hospice, in Winsford.
Also on the climb was Phil Blount, from Brighton, whose daughter Francesca died last year in St Barnabas Hospice, Worthing, aged 21.
Money raised from the climb will go to the two hospices.
Kay’s plan to get to the top, assemble the pole and hold a pole dancing party hit a snag when she started spotting members of her team making their way back down.
Kay said: “It was so cold at the top that they couldn’t hang around. One girl was shivering and they were worried about hypothermia.
“They didn’t want to leave the pole at the top – and they didn’t even know if we would make it that far – so they started to bring it back down.”
Determined not to fail in their quest, Kay and Alan took the 25 kilos of equipment from their team mates and continued to climb.
Sodden, shivering and trudging through snow in July, they made it to the top, set up the pole and Kay showed off her skills at arguably the highest pole dancing party the world has ever seen!
She said: “My aim was to do that in my frilly knickers and feather boa but the thought of taking my trousers off was stupid.
“I was exhausted getting to the top and we still had to go back down.”
While delighted to have achieved her aim, Kay was given a stark reminder of how dangerous mountain climbing can be when she and Alan became lost on the way back down.
The pair wandered in the mist for half an hour before spotting other climbers in the distance and making their way back onto the track.
Kay said: “I did panic a little bit but that was probably exhaustion as well as fear.
“I was concerned we could be heading for a sheer drop.”
Safe at home, Kay admitted she was “suffering” with aching muscles.
But she added: “A little bit of suffering is nothing compared to what people with cancer go through.”
To donate to Kay’s cause, log on to www.justgiving.com/PoleParty/