Veterans

Military Veterans Complete Mount Kilimanjaro Climb

James Rose and Darren Young have finished their Road2Kili challenge to raise awareness for mental health.

Two ex-military men have climbed up the highest mountain in Africa to raise awareness for mental health.

James Rose and Darren Young were part of a team of five that headed up Mount Kilimanjaro and climbed 55 hours in total over the course of seven days.

Mr Rose lost both of his legs in an IED explosion in 2009 while Mr Young was medically discharged after 16 years with the Royal Air Force.

Mr Rose, Mr Young and the team upon completing their challenge (Picture: James Rose/Darren Young).

On Twitter, Mr Young described it as a "great experience" which was "hard" and "challenging."

"How did we do it... I have no idea! But we did."

Mr Rose and Mr Young met at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, but it was contact via Facebook which made the climb a reality.

Mr Young said: "I can remember having a conversation with James where he always wanted to do it, but never thought he would once he lost his legs.

"He put something on Facebook that he wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro after watching Extreme Everest with Ant Middleton.

"I turned around and said why not? Let’s do it. He said he would do it not knowing that I already had plans in place.

"That’s from one post on Facebook. That’s where all of this started."

Watch: Forces News met the pair during their training.

"Once you start getting mental health problems, you can’t really ignore that," Mr Rose said.

"It kind of takes over your life if you don’t control it.

"If you get out like this, it really helps you. That’s what it is all about.

"Telling people to get out and about to do something."

For Mr Young, it was something he had thought about for a long time: "It’s been one of those bucket list things that I have wanted to do for quite some time.

"You never think that you are going to get around to doing it because I run two businesses.

"You watch television and there are certain things you watch where you go that you would love to do that, but I can’t because I have a bad back. Well, hold on. Why can’t I do that?

"Just because I have a bad back, it does not stop me living."

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, with its summit about 4,900 metres from its base (Picture: PA).

Joining them for the trek was Mr Young's wife Mel, his best friend Mark Burns and media guru Louis Baptiste, who thinks the veterans' story is inspiring.

He said: "They are not small guys or someone you could easily just walk over.

"When you think of the stigma of mental health and what people go through, these aren’t the pictures and faces that you usually see.

"Another reason why it is humbling is the backgrounds and what they have done for this country in their careers."

The team have raised more than £13,000 so far and aim to get to £30,000.