After his heart stopped eight years ago, Stefano, 74, from Melbourn scales Kilimanjaro to prove anything is possible with a pacemaker

Stefano Borsi proudly shows off his T-shirt.

Stefano Borsi proudly shows off his T-shirt. - Credit: Archant

A retired 74-year-old whose heart stopped beating eight years ago is brimming with pride after climbing to the highest point in Africa.

Stefano with guide Rolfe Oostra.

Stefano with guide Rolfe Oostra. - Credit: Archant

Stefano Borsi, who lives in Melbourn but grew up in the Italian Alps, wanted to prove that anything is possible with a pacemaker when he trekked up Mount Kilimanjaro with 360 Expeditions.

It’s hard to imagine that just eight years ago, Stefano ‘died for 15 seconds’ when his heart stopped beating – a moment that will always stay with wife Daphne. She said: “He sat up and said he didn’t feel well. I thought indigestion or something, that he needed a camomile tea.

“Then he just started keeling over. I had to give him a push, it must have restarted his heart. I called the ambulance and luckily they were in Royston and came within three minutes, but his heart stopped again on the way to the hospital.”

Stefano was first taken to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, and then was transferred to Papworth Hospital, where he was given a pacemaker.

The Kilimanjaro team.

The Kilimanjaro team. - Credit: Archant

The retired mountain-lover decided he wanted to give something back to Papworth Hospital Charity, and decided an expedition scaling one of the biggest mountains in the world was a fitting way to do it.

Stefano, who worked for Johnson Matthey, said: “I have a connection with the mountains and I wanted to give something back. I want to encourage people who have a pacemaker and show them it’s not the end of the world, you can still do things.

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“I want to tell people with pacemakers not to be afraid. From my experience you can do anything.

“They changed the battery before I went, and they change it every year.

“I felt that as I was training in the gym hard, I didn’t want to let people down. I wanted to prove that I’m OK – and if the pacemaker didn’t work I wanted my money back!

“Everybody on the expedition called me pops. The mantra was if pops can do it, we can too.”

Stefano would like to thank local organisations for supporting him, including Melbourn Hub, Leeche and Sons Butchers, Melbourn Sports Centre and Judith King and his granddaughter for collecting in Norwich.