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Age UK Hythe, Lyminge and Ashford - Dementia Support

As you know we are a charity and we rely heavily on donations, legacies and grants.

Cleo, Emma-Jayne, and Sam have personally funded the expedition, contributing £7,200 of there own money, which is not included in our £30K target. All the funds raised will go directly to our cause.

The Everest Base Camp Trek on the Nepalese side (South side) is one of the most popular trekking routes in the Himalayas. This October, myself, Emma-Jayne, and Sam—who is living with Dementia and affectionately known as Santa—are taking on this challenge to raise funds for Age UK Hythe, Lyminge, and Ashford.

Climbing to Everest Base Camp is indeed a challenge, but it is an achievable one! We don’t need any specialist equipment or technical climbing skills since this is a trek on mountain paths with gentle gradients and some steep sections.

Going to Everest Base Camp is challenging both emotionally and physically, but we believe we can achieve it, especially with your support.

Our goal is to raise around £30K, and any additional funds would be incredible. This amount will support the cost of one salary of our support team for one year, enabling them to provide tailored services to individuals living with Dementia in our bespoke Dementia hub. Experienced and trained staff ensure the best quality of life for those living with Dementia, because life doesn't stop just because you have Dementia. All funds raised will stay local and be donated to Age UK Hythe, Lyminge, and Ashford to support their amazing work for our older population.

Here is a little about us.

Hi I’m Cleo Smith 47 years young married to Neil with 2 now grown up children, Oliver 24 and Davina 23.
I started my childhood with the dream to be a professional dancer and attended Pattison's Dancing Academy and college based in my home town Coventry City from the age of 7. When I was 13 my parents moved to Kent and I followed where I continued my passion for Dancing at Studio Six. At the age of 18 I soon realised that the life of a Dancer wasn't for me, I was such a home bird the thought of being away from home was too much, especially as my sister Harriet had just come into the world.
I then started a carer in care working at Bethany Lodge a home for young adults of similar age to myself. I had a short break to look after my children before returning to work part time.
Having worked with young adults, which was sometimes very emotional due to their circumstances I took a leap of faith away from care and tried Dental nursing, which was definitely not my vocation in life. I returned back to care working my way up to Registered Manager of a residential home when I decided that I wanted to venture into the world of the voluntary sector and was successful in my application for the post of Chief Officer for Age Concern Hythe and here I am 18 years later having gone through 2 full mergers forming Age UK Hythe Lyminge and Ashford.
I love my job and the challenges that we face as an organisation, the recent Pandemic embedded my passion to want to help people, and my biggest achievement to date is receiving a British Empire Medal for my charity work.
Over the years Age UK Hythe Lyminge and Ashford have seen a reduction in funding and each year it is harder to raise funds, so whilst we continue to raise money generally with our everyday fundraising efforts this challenge pushes me both physically and emotionally, whilst taking me outside of my comfort zone.
When my challenge buddies Emma and Sam who lives with Dementia spoke to me about Basecamp I couldn’t not accept. I appreciate that it is not going to be easy and will be spending my time getting ready for the challenge ahead by going in long treks and improving my fitness, which in itself is a challenge!
I hope that people can get behind us and support our mission to raise the vital funds required to continue to support older people in our community.

Hi I’m Emma-Jayne and I am a 47 year old Mum to 2 sons, Dinks 27 and Dylan 25.
I recently became a Nonna to a beautiful little girl called April.
I have worked for Age UK FOR 27 years with a gap of 9 months to travel Italy in 2020 and got locked down there!!!! I believe this moulded me to believe I can do anything I put my mind too.
I have had a calling to help people all my life and working at Age UK had forfilled that passion.
I ran our Dementia Daybreak for over 5 years and like to promote awareness to dementia whenever I can.
It has been a life long dream to visit Nepal and for this opportunity to have risen and to also raise money for a charity close to my heart and with 2 special people is something else. To be part of a team challenge like this is HUGE for me. I can’t wait to get going!!
This challenge will tick so many boxes personally and to help people I share my time and passion with during my working days.

Hi, my name is Samuel Bunting. I’m 78 years old, a veteran of His Majesty’s forces, and I live a challenging but fun and fulfilling life with dementia. I have three daughters from my marriage, who are now mothers to my seven grandchildren.

I’ve been the Ashford Santa through the Rotary Club and many other organisations for many years. Additionally, I’ve volunteered for Age UK in Ashford and continue to teach Tai Chi and Art to the elderly.

When I was 17, I enlisted in the Royal Military in Aberdeen, joining the 18 Regiment. I served for four years in Germany before transferring to the 47 Artillery, where I was deployed to Hong Kong in 1966. In 1967, I moved to Malaysia and joined the Jungle Warfare School in Johor Bahru. There, I was attached to the 2nd and 7th Gurkha Rifles, training Green Berets for Vietnam. Afterward, I returned to Hong Kong to complete my six years of service, during which I oversaw the Military Yacht Club. During this time, I also assisted the Royal Hong Kong Police in checking illegal junks from China. I then returned to the UK and did a tour of Northern Ireland, which lasted for approximately two years.

In 2013, I climbed to the Mount Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal. It has been my ambition to climb to Everest Base Camp for a charitable cause, which I am pleased to be doing along with two wonderful ladies, Emma and Cleo.



  • Anonymous
    • £20 
    • 4 hrs
  • Bindon & Jeannette Tye
    • £50 
    • 6 d
  • Anonymous
    • £10 
    • 6 d
  • Adrian&Tina BRAY
    • £24 
    • 7 d
  • Anonymous
    • £4,828 
    • 12 d


Cleo Smith
Age UK Hythe, Lyminge and Ashford

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