A mother is to celebrate her birthday by climbing Africa's tallest mountain with her three best friends. 

Claire Sharp, 27, of Yardley Close in Chingford, will start the climb in Tanzania on September 12 in aid of charities The Sick Children's Trust and Guide Dogs. 

Ms Sharp's parents Tony, 62, and Sue, 57, of Hainault, are both blind.  

Her mother lost her eyesight after contracting measles and her father, a former NatWest employee of thirty years, was born three months premature and his vision never fully developed.

Ms Sharp has surpassed her fundraising target of £2,500 and is hoping it could double once she completes the 37-mile trek with friends Samantha Rose of Dacre Gardens, Chigwell, Emma Campbell of Newlands Road in Woodford, and Tara McGuigan, of Cedar Close in Buckhurst Hill.

To prepare for the ten-day trek with temperatures expected to plummet from 35c in the rainforest to minus 20c on summit night, Ms Sharp, Ms Rose and Ms McGuigan climbed Mount Snowden in July. 

The friends had originally planned the trip three years ago, but Ms Sharp fell pregnant with her son Joe. 

She said: "We're all a bit nuts but it's an ambition we've all shared for a long time. 

"I'm totally excited but slightly nervous about the altitude, so it's the thing that could make or break it for me."

Ms Sharp will donate half the funds raised towards The Sick Children's Trust after they supported her friends when their now one-year-old daughter Millie required specialist care at Great Ormond Street Hospital.   

She added: "The Home from Home scheme provided them with close-by accommodation as Millie underwent treatment. 

"This service is vital for kids so young and gives the family a bit of peace of mind and normality."  

To find out more, you can visit Ms Sharp's Just Giving page here