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Charlotte to fulfill dream of her dad


A policeman's daughter will fulfill one of her dad's dreams when she scales Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro next year.

Charlotte Sparling, 15, will be fulfilling a wish still held by her police sergeant dad, Clive, who planned to emulate his late father's achievement during his national service in Kenya.

But the 45-year-old city-based officer was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer just before the planned climb in 2004.

Sgt Sparling, who had already successfully beaten skin cancer, went on to make a full recovery and has since raised money cycling for cancer charities.

But his dream of climbing Africa's highest mountain, in Tanzania, remains unfulfilled.

Next July, Charlotte will make the 19,341ft climb during a trip with her school, Melton's Long Field Academy, to the African country.

She will do the climb as one of her achievements towards gaining the Queen's Scout Award (QSA).

Clive said: "Climbing the mountain was of particular importance to me because my late dad, Alan, climbed it while stationed in Kenya during national service.

"It's great Charlotte will be following in her grandfather's footsteps.

"Charlotte is going on a world challenge trip to Tanzania in Africa with her school for a month. While there, she will do her expedition for her QSA, which is going up Kilimanjaro.

"I was due to go up it in 2004 when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, so she will be fulfilling a dream of mine.

"The proviso is that she is taking a picture of her grandad with her.

"I've got a picture of him at the top when he climbed it during his 18 months in Kenya with the RAF, as part of his national service.

"I am very proud and extremely jealous that she is getting out there to do it before me.

"She said she felt guilty because of that, but I will climb it at some point.

"My dad died, aged 50, in June 1988. It will be almost 26 years to the day he died when she climbs it.

"My dad was posted to Kenya for 18 months just after he got engaged to my mum.

"He carried on as a Scout leader while he was out there running the 53rd and 1st Nairobi groups.

"The 53rd was named after Birstall St James, where he was a Scout leader, before going out there."

Charlotte said: "I feel quite proud because, although I never met my grandad, I feel like I'll be doing something for him and for dad, as well.

"It's quite scary because I've never done anything like it before, but I'm doing it with some good friends from school. We're planning to go to the Lake District for some practice."

Charlotte has so far raised about £1,000 towards her trip through sponsored events and has a curry night planned at an Indian restaurant.

Anyone willing to help Charlotte fund her trip is asked to call Clive on 07940 453467. Clive, who is leader of the 4th Melton Pacesetter Explorers, has a double reason to be proud.

Charlotte and his elder daughter, Lucy, 17, have just achieved their Platinum Chief Scout Awards.

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