Page last updated at 09:26 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Fearne Cotton and Kimberley Walsh return to Africa

The team of nine celebrities who took part in the Kilimanjaro climb

Earlier this year a team of nine celebrities flew out to Tanzania to climb the mighty Kilimanjaro summit in aid of Comic Relief.

It took Ben Shephard, Chris Moyles, Alesha Dixon, Denise Van Outen, Kimblerley Walsh, Cheryl Cole, Fearne Cotton, Ronan Keating and Gary Barlow a gruelling seven days to complete the walk.

Battling the harsh temperatures and high altitude was not always easy, but they carried on and raised over £3.5m.

Cotton and Walsh have returned to Africa, this time to Uganda, with Barlow, Shephard and Moyles to see where the cash raised has been spent to help to fight malaria.


What is it like being in Uganda and seeing the results of your fundraising efforts?

C: It's a real privilege to be honest. When you help to raise money for Comic Relief you know its going to make a difference to people's lives.

But to come and see it in action on the ground has been really special.

W: The climb was a real challenge and there were times when most of us didn't think we would make it to the top.

But seeing the impact its made we are all so glad we stuck at it.

Is the terrain a bit flatter this time around?

W: Just a bit. We spent most of our time looking at the back of the person's boots in front of us as we trudged uphill so it's nice to see people's faces.

C: We've still had to go for the odd wee outside though so its been like a home from home.

Has distributing the mosquito nets really brought it home to you how important they are?

C: By the time this project has finished, around 1.5 million people will have been protected from malaria in an area the size of Northern Ireland. How cool is that?

Fearne Cotton and Kimberley Walsh

W: Thousands of people walked for miles and waited patiently in the blistering sun for their net.

Almost all of them were parents and they were desperate to be able to protect their children - it was great to play a small part in it.

What's it been like to be reunited with some of your fellow Kilimanjaro climbing buddies?

W: There's been a lot of reminiscing, a lot of stories I'd forgotten about and some I'd wished I had.

C: Ben even bought the same rucksack he'd worn up the mountain. Its something that we will always, always talk about when we see each other.

What does this whole project mean to you personally?

C: It's been really satisfying to be able to rise to a really tough challenge and then see what it achieved with your own eyes.

Handing those nets to people who needed and wanted them so desperately was an unforgettable thing to be given the chance to do.

W: I spent a while in a maternity ward here, seeing young mothers and tiny babies affected by malaria. The mums were so strong but had so little help. I'll never forget it.

If the nets we've given out can stop just one of those women going through that, it would be fantastic.



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