A BARROWFORD man is getting into peak condition to take up the biggest challenge of his life.

Philippe Handford, of Ribblesdale Place, is travelling to Nepal to take part in the Everest expedition for Scope, the charity for people with cerebral palsy.

The 43-year-old will be joining 40 other people from all over the UK who will be trekking for 14 days to reach base camp at Mount Everest before climbing 5,545m to the peak of neighbouring mountain Kala Pattar.

From there they will get the clearest view of the full face of the world's highest mountain.

As part of a demanding, high altitude expedition, facilities for the intrepid fund-raisers will be extremely basic with only small bowls of water to wash in and holes in the ground for toilets.

Philippe, who is looking forward to the challenge, said: "I have never done anything like this before so it will be a completely new experience for me.

"But I am taking it very seriously because I don't want to let my sponsors down."

The father-of-three normally runs to keep fit and is having to get used to pulling on walking boots and a back-pack instead of his usual lightweight running shoes.

He has been training hard and can often be seen walking through the Pendle countryside.

He said: "I know I will have to be very fit, so I am training three times a week, slowly building up the distance I cover."

Philippe said he has always dreamed of visiting this part of the world and one day would love to climb Everest itself.

He added: "Climbing the peak of Kala Pattar will give me the chance to look at how daunting a challenge that would be."

The senior project engineer, who works for Prestige Medical in Blackburn, has pledged to raise £3,500 for Scope, one of the largest disability charities in the UK, to support their work with adults and children with cerebral palsy.

So far he has raised around £2,000, but he needs more people to come forward and sponsor him.

Anyone who would like to help him raise vital funds for Scope can telephone him during the day on 01254 682622.