9 MARCH 2009

Follow the Comic Relief team's progress with daily updates and video reports in our special feature

It was the moment Gary Barlow, Cheryl Cole and the rest of the celebrity fundraising team had given everything to achieve. After seven hard days of climbing, which stretched them to the limit both mentally and physically, the star group finally reached the 19,330ft peak of Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, raising almost £1.5 million for Comic Relief in the process.

Understandably, reaching the top was a moving experience for each of the nine walkers, who arrived at various stages after setting off at 4am on Saturday morning - led by Ben Shepherd. Take That star Gary described the moment he had the finish line within his sights.

"Seven months of planning, phone calls, emails, training, sweat, tests and sleepless nights had all led to this," said the singer, who had overcome back problems to complete the climb. "The sun started to rise, it was so emotional and for the first time I lost it and couldn't stop crying."

The final push to the summit took four hours for the fastest, trekking through steep rocky terrain in brutal gale force winds at sub zero temperatures. "The walk was steep, severe and heart breaking," says Gary.

After time to reflect on the enormity of their achievement and to take in the breathtaking vistas on the top of the mountain, the trekkers got started on the 12-15 hour descent. They were due to spend a final night under canvas on the slopes before a five hour walk the following day through rainforest terrain.

Photo: Getty Images
The Take That star was overcome as his achievement hit home. All nine of the celebrity climbers, who included (from left) TV presenter Ben Shepherd, Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh and Westlife band member Ronan Keating, made it to the 19,330ft peak of Africa's highest mountain
Photo: Getty Images
With the end in sight, Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles celebrates. The group raised almost £1.5 million for Comic Relief