A FATHER and daughter made a trip to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to scatter the ashes of a loved one who died of cancer.

Keith and Rachel Turner were supported by an eightstrong team of friends, with help from North-East businesses, as they paid tribute to their son and brother, Graeme Turner, who died from a brain tumour.

A keen explorer, Graeme’s last adventure had been an abortive attempt to conquer the mountain in 2004.

At the time, he put the headaches and exhaustion, which prevented him from reaching the 19,341ft summit, down to altitude sickness.

However, within a few months he had been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour and died, aged only 28, in October 2006.

Team Graeme was established not long after his diagnosis to raise funds for research and, in February last year, linked with the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust, the largest organisation funding brain tumour research in the UK.

And, as a result of their climb, they have now pushed fundraising for brain tumour research beyond the £10,000 mark.

After returning from Tanzania, Rachel, 27, from Stockton, and a solicitor for Dickinson Dees, in Newcastle, said: “It was an emotionally and physically challenging trip and we’d like to thank everyone who helped us to make it.

“Although we had a few problems along the way, nine of the ten-strong team made it to the top in two groups. Dad and I seemed to get stronger as we approached the top, knowing we were literally following in Graeme’s footsteps.

“When we scattered some of Graeme’s ashes at the summit I think for Dad it was a great relief; an outlet for the pain of the last few years.”

Keith, a 59-year-old industrial chemist and also from Stockton, said: “Although I’d done a fair bit of training in preparation, it was an incredibly tough challenge.

“It was really only complete determination to finish, for Graeme’s sake, that got me through the last hour. Several times along the way – and when we eventually reached the summit – the emotions were completely overpowering.”

It took Team Graeme a week to complete the challenge, trekking for five days and then setting off at midnight to complete an 11-hour ascent and partial decent before a twoday walk back to base camp.