An intrepid RSPCA inspector is taking on a towering challenge to conquer the world’s highest free-standing mountain in a bid to raise cash to help prevent cruelty to animals.
Kia Thomas, 30, who is part of the society’s North Wales team, covering the Wrexham area, will be joining 14 other inspectors from across the UK on the RSPCA’s Kilimanjaro Trek 2013.
They will be attempting to reach the summit with the aim of raising £80,000 to safeguard animals at risk of cruelty or neglect.
On Saturday, July 7, she will be at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham collecting donations to help her make her assault on Africa’s tallest mountain, which rises 19,340 feet above Tanzania.
Kia needs to raise at least £4,000 to make her part in the trek viable and at the Eagles Meadow that day she will also be selling tickets to a raffle which will see the winners drawn during a fun dog show she has personally organised as another fundraising venture for the trek at Alyn Waters Country Park in Wrexham on Sunday, July 29.
Kia, who spent a year in training before becoming a fully qualified RSPCA inspector, helps out with incidents across the region as diverse as rescuing neglected and sick horses to assisting to free birds trapped by fishing lines.
Although she maintains a reasonable level of fitness through regular running and mountain biking, Kia reckons she will definitely have to move up to a higher level of physical readiness for the Kilimanjaro challenge next February, which will see her and fellow participants having to spend seven gruelling days battling their way to the summit.
She said: “Although I realise it’s going to be really tough, I am excited and very much looking forward to tackling the trek.
“From what I’m, told we won’t be taking the easiest route to the top either, so I need to prepare myself properly beforehand.
“I’ve already started a training regime. I recently climbed Scafell Pike in the Lake District and I’ve also done local peaks such as Moel Famau.
“I also plan to spend quite a bit of time out training for the trek in Snowdonia, so I am hoping to achieve quite a high level of fitness.
“Some of the other RSPCA inspectors have been offered free membership of gyms in their local areas to help with the training, so I’m wondering if any gym in Wrexham would be willing to do the same for me. It would be fantastic if they could support me in that way.”
She added: “We have made huge strides in animal welfare over the years but there is still work to do.
“As part of my role, every day I witness first hand, acts of neglect, cruelty and violence towards animals.
“The money raised by the Kilimanjaro trek will enable the RSPCA to continue their work in rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing, sick, injured and unwanted animals, so it’s very important it is a success.”
Kia has attracted donations of some great prizes for her raffle to be drawn at Alyn Waters Country Park next month.
These include a white water rafting session in Bala, an outdoor pursuits taster day at a centre in Llanberis, a mountain biking course and an adventure activity voucher from a company in Llangollen.
Kia added: “I’d like to say a big thank you to all the companies which have donated raffle prizes and to eagles Meadow for letting me sell tickets. I’m hoping to sell as many as possible there on July 7.”
She will also be selling raffle tickets outside the Asda store in Wrexham on the morning of Monday, June 25 and all day on Monday, July 16.
Eagles Meadow Manager Kevin Critchley was full of admiration for Kia.
He said: ““I would like to wish Kia all the best during the preparations for this epic climb and I hope that she raises a mountain of money for this very deserving charity.”
To sponsor Kia on the Kilimanjaro trek, visit her donations page at www.justgiving.com/kiathomasrspca. She also has her own Facebook page.