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10:30 - 14 October 2004

A Polesworth climber is facing the challenge of a lifetime as he prepares to scale the highest peak in Africa - Mount Kilimanjaro.

42-year-old John Price, who says that until a year ago had never climbed anything higher than a flight of stairs, has been getting in the best shape of his life to face the 19,340ft ascent next February. And he'll be donating every penny he collects in sponsorship to help the Leukaemia Research Fund.

John, a co-director and founder of Polesworth-based import company Bearings International Limited, will swap his desk job for the bleak mountainous terrain of Tanzania for the seven-day trek.

"I've never done anything like this before," he explained.

"But in the last 18 months I've lost over four stone in weight and it just sort of opened my eyes to what I could be doing. "There's a whole world out there and I fancied a challenge.

"Also, I'm not getting any younger so if I don't do it now I never will."

Although John is currently recovering from a slight knee injury, he's building up his stamina by walking up to 40 miles a week - but the really intensive training begins 10 weeks before the climb.

"There's no doubt it's going to be tough - there's only a 60 or 70 per cent success rate on the climb. The rest give up and turn back.

"But I've taken a rock climbing course and a trekking course but it's impossible to train at altitude.

"You just have to take the climb slowly and acclimatise when you're there."

If anyone wants to sponsor John for his solo climb, he can be reached via his website at www.bearings.f2s.com/7summits.

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