Not content with climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and not content with raising thousands for charity, Alan Hanna of Pitstop Fast Food in Kilkeel and Malachy Mallon, owner of the Dolphin in Armagh and Dungannon, also opened the world’s highest pop-up chippy.
Today they made the official presentation of £20,000 to The Fishermen’s Mission, having already presented £5,000 to Fortune Kids & Education Foundation Orphanage in Tanzania. Upon return they received a further £2,000 for the orphanage, from a local business man. A total of £27,000 raised!
Travelling to Tanzania to climb the 20,000 ft of Mount Kilimanjaro might seem a long way to go just to cook fish and chips. But for two award winning fish and chip shop owners, it was a clever way to give back to their local community and those much less fortunate, living five thousand miles away.
“We wanted to raise more money for the Fishermen’s Mission and we needed a big challenge to gain the sponsorship.” Said Malachy. “So at the top of the world, we did what we do best, cooked fish and chips. We had trained well for the climb and the cooking was great fun, and of course it was an amazing adventure. But it’s important to remember, the real difference we can all make in the lives of those who face daily struggles. That mixture of cheering each other on and accepting the temporary discomfort, meant we could overcome 8 days of climbing, because it was helping so many other people who have to overcome adversity every day.”
Alan added, “We were honoured and humbled to visit the Fortune Kids Orphanage. The support from McWhinney’s Sausages; Kerry Foods, Unique Seafood Ltd and Florigo Frying Solutions, has been superb and we had brought some of the food with us. We got potatoes at a local market and despite no running water and only a two ring gas stove, we practiced our pop-up cooking skills, for the staff and children. The sausages, fish and chips were devoured.”
Alan and Malachy donated five thousand pounds to the orphanage, which is 14.7 million Tanzanian shillings. It provided food, mattresses, payment of their rent for 1 year and crucially, access to running water. In a recent email the orphanage said they were keeping well, despite battling malaria. Malachy said, “We’ve learned the donation also helped pay health insurance for the children, and wages for the security guard, a teacher and fittingly, the matron and chef. That kind of change in people’s lives is why we set out to fundraise.”
Alan and Malachy set out as part of a small group of climbers, led by a team of 30 porters. “We learnt some Swahili. Jambo (hello), asante (thank you) and polepole, meaning slowly!” laughs Alan. He said, “Each stage was breathtaking. The nights were extremely cold and lack of sleep added to the worry of low oxygen levels and altitude sickness. Mind you, the porters danced and sang each night and we officially opened the pop-up chippy in Barafu Camp, 15,255ft above sea level.”
“Setting off at 11.45 at night, for the final climb to the summit, there were still moments we thought we might not make it.” said Alan. “One of the group had to pull out, just an hour from the summit. Knowing people had been donating and knowing how much the Fishermen’s Mission needed the support, kept us focused.”
The Fishermen’s Mission delivers welfare support from its three centres in Kilkeel, Ardglass and Portavogie. They help with emergency grants to fishermen and their families in times of need. They provide an emergency response all year round, for the survivor’s of fishing emergencies and accidents and to the families for those lost at sea or sadly killed. They work alongside rescue teams and help with accommodation, food and clothing. They also provide local and migrant fishermen with a place to rest after fishing, providing facilities such as a laundry room and a range of welfare help.
On the 9th September 2018, at 7.30am Alan and Malachy reached the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Back home, Alan and Malachy agreed, “Multiple missions accomplished.”