Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

Red Nose leader's joy at summit

Jeremy Gane
Jeremy Gane led the successful expedition in poor weather

A 60-year-old Devon man is celebrating after leading a team of celebrities to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro for the Red Nose charity.

Jeremy Gane, a tour operator who has climbed Kilimanjaro 21 times, spoke of his "relief" at guiding the team to the top of Africa's tallest mountain.

Father-of-three Mr Gane runs a Tavistock-based expeditions firm.

Wife Clare told BBC News: "There have been lots of difficulties, but they got there in the end which is brilliant."

Mr Gane guided a team of celebrities - Alesha Dixon, Ben Shephard, Cheryl Cole, Chris Moyles, Denise Van Outen, Fearne Cotton, Gary Barlow, Kimberley Walsh and Ronan Keating.

They reached the top of the 19,300ft (5,900m) mountain at dawn on Saturday, raising nearly 1.4m.

But behind the cameras was a team of about 180 support staff for the climb, which Mr Gane spent months organising.

Chris Moyles, Denise Van Outen, Fearne Cotton, Cheryl Cole and Gary Barlow pose before boarding their flight to Tanzania
The celebrities have raised nearly 1.4m for charity.
Mrs Gane, 56, said: "It was a lot of hard work organising and so he feels immense relief that it worked so well."

The climbers are now heading down to a shelter which they expect to reach on Sunday evening.

Climbers have experienced weather ranging from the hot equatorial plains of Africa to the arctic ice fields that still exist on the summit four miles above the plains.

Mrs Ganes said: "All he wants to do now is get off the mountain because it's been very cold and windy.

"It's not the best month to climb in terms of weather."

The Comic Relief blog said: "At the summit, God knows how."

Several members of the celebrity group suffered from altitude sickness during the five-day ascent.

They all endured sleepness night, as well as aches and pains due to the lack of oxygen.

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