A Hartlepool man is preparing to tackle the ultimate challenge of scaling Mount Everest in the Himalayas with the aim of raising £60,000 for a children's charity.
Ellis Stewart says it is a thrilling prospect to have the chance of fulfilling a lifelong dream to climb Everest - but admits it represents a whole new level of challenge from what he has been used to.
The 39-year-old father of two has previously reached the top of South America's highest mountain, Aconcagua, as well as the world's sixth highest mountain, Cho Oyu in Tibet.
"Training is going well so I need to make sure I'm ready, prepare well and hope luck is on my side," he said.
Mr Stewart will be raising funds for the NSPCC when he takes on the challenge next year.
He has been going on long walks with up to 55lb in a backpack as part of efforts to get as fit as he possibly can in readiness for scaling the world famous 29,000ft Himalayan peak, which straddles the border between China and Nepal.
"What you can't prepare for is how your body will deal with the altitude and the weather conditions which you might have to deal with," he acknowledged.
But Mr Stewart said he has always felt "propelled" to climb Everest and will be doing everything he can to achieve his goal.
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