Kilimanjaro climb in memory of Michael

Published: 24 Apr 2012 12:30

THE brave partner of a Barrhead man who drowned with his cousin in a double-fishing tragedy is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money in their memory.

LABOUR OF LOVE: Jeanette is taking on the trek in memory of her partner Michael, also pictured

Determined Jeanette Maltman, 50, of Carnock Crescent, is honouring her partner Michael McCreadie and his cousin Gerald Dalgish, who both perished aged 44 in the fishing horror on the Isle of Whithorn six years ago.

The mum-of-two told the News she wants to do her late husband and his cousin "proud" by raising vital cash for the crews of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) whom she described as "amazing."

She said: "It means everything to us, it's taken a long time for me and the children, it will help us to move on. I just want them to be proud of me."

And she has roped in her teenage children, personal trainer Natalie, 19, and son Jonathan, 18, to help get her in shape for the challenge.

She is scaling one of the highest peaks in the world, the 19,341ft Mt Kilimanjaro in east Africa and is also walking the 96-mile West Highland Way to raise awareness for the RNLI heroes.

Praising her children she added: "They have been brilliant, helping me get ready and giving me all the tips."

Tragedy struck the family in July 31 2006 when the two Barrhead cousins and close pals where fishing on the Isle of Whithorn on the Solway Firth.

Michael slipped and fell from rocks and his hero cousin Gerald dived in to save him. However, treacherous rocks and a dangerous swell prevented lifeboat crews from getting to the men in time.

Emergency rescue services were scrambled to scene in an effort to save the cousins, whom she described as "like brothers," but the two close pals were tragically lost.

Jeanette explained that she is now doing all she can as she doesn't want the same thing to happen again to another family.

She added: "It's all to bring awareness, you can be down the coast and fall into the water at any time - it can happen to anyone."

Jeanette now actively raises funds for the RNLI, through fund-raisers, and sponsored climbs, which culminate in her inspirational ascent of Kilimanjaro.

And she heaped praise on the lifeboat volunteers who risk life and limb in emergency call outs do up and down the country day in and day out.

She said: "These men and women who volunteer rely totally on donations, the work they do is amazing, without them things could be so much worse."

And she had particular acclaim for the lifeboat and its crew that tried in vain to rescue Michael and Gerald, the Pirsac lifeboat in the Solway Firth, adding: "They are the only ones down there, they need all the help they can get."

Jeanette is organising a charity event before her African adventure. The event will take place at Shanks Bowling Club, Victoria Road, on Saturday April 28, and there will be a disco, buffet, auction and raffle.

Tickets are £3.50 and are available by getting in contact with Shanks Bowling Club.

Jeanette said: "Everyone is always very supportive of what I'm doing, but some people still can't believe that I'm going to do it.

"Any donation is welcome, if someone wants to buy me a pair of boots that would be great!"

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