A man mountain himself on the field, former Exeter Chiefs star Simon Alcott has himself been scaling new heights to raise funds and awareness for Restart, the official charity of The Rugby Players Association.
Having been forced to quit the professional game last season through injury, Simon received support from Restart and The RPA to help him prepare for a new career off the pitch. To show his thanks, Simon chose Restart as the charity to benefit from his challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.
Former hooker Simon, who played a total of 71 times for the Chiefs, joined adventurer Paul Mattin from Wilderness Solutions and four Royal Marines on this very special quest.
The expedition was one of recovery and re-calibration; as all the lads on the trip have recently experienced tough-times as a result of their challenging careers. Simon, who has been forced to quit the game he loved, and the RM Commandos who were in need of a proper break following tough deployments in Afghanistan.
After a short safari, visits to local (muddy) watering-holes and a brief taste of relative luxury, the intrepid team set-off on the Lemosho Trail; Kilimanjaro’s longest and most beautiful route.
After eight days of relentless banter, little tents and mountains of carbohydrates, the posse scaled Kili’s flank in style. All succeeded – but even more importantly – all enjoyed the opportunity to share stories about their on-going rehabilitation and share plans for the future.
Simon wishes to say a huge thanks to Restart, The RPA and his former team-mates at the Chiefs for their help and encouragement (particularly Haydn, Roseanne and Twiggsy). However, as is the case with so many players who suddenly find themselves facing a fresh challenge, adjusting to life after rugby isn’t easy. Moral support is key and the opportunity to tackle Kili has been an important part of the change process for Simon.
If you would like to support Simon’s fundraising you can donate here >>
Or, if you you would like to escape on an adventure yourself, why not visit the Wilderness Solutions website and engage in a little fundraising for your own charity of choice – and if you don’t already have one in mind, pick Restart!