A STUDENT is just weeks away from preparing to take on the biggest challenge of his life - by conquering Mount Kilimanjaro.
Martin Handley has been busy holding fundraising events across his hometown of Thorne to help in his charity quest of climbing the 5,895 metre African mountain.
The 21-year-old first got the idea after spending time in South Africa during sixth form at Thorne Trinity Academy back in 2008, where he carried out aid work for people of the Masoyi community.
Martin, of Southwood Drive, has been playing badminton, squash and football to help train for the world’s highest freestanding mountain.
The Nottingham University physics student said: “When I was offered the chance to go back to Africa, I pounced on it. Not only to climb Kilimanjaro but to go back to the country and re-live my experiences over there. I’ve never met such happy people.
“The children literally have nothing and yet have more joy in their eyes than any other child, it’s amazing to see and hits home about the fact that material possessions don’t mean a great deal.
“I have vertigo so I’m looking forward to standing on the edge at 19,000ft up and scaring myself until I get over it. I can’t wait to see how hard it is and feel the pain of climbing. I don’t want it to be easy because I want to really feel like I’ve earned it.
“The people who have already gone and come back say that the altitude is a killer and it makes you nauseous constantly, so perhaps I’m a bit apprehensive about that.”
Martin will be part of a 30-strong group tackling the seven-day epic peak, setting off on August 27.
He has raised around £2,500 towards his £3,000 target for Childreach International that works with countries including Tanzania and India to improve over 70,000 children’s access to healthcare, education and protection.
To donate, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/martinhandley1