AN AUTISTIC butcher has described how he climbed the highest mountain in Africa after seeing an advert for the trip while walking for a bus.

David Brooks, who works at Bakers Butchers in Witney, took on Kilimanjaro in October to raise cash for Oxford children's hospice Helen & Douglas House.

The 27-year-old has raised more than £6,700 for the charity which helps families cope with the challenges of looking after a terminally-ill baby or child..

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Mr Brooks explained how he ended up embarking on his African adventure: "I was feeling down a couple of years ago and was walking to get a bus when I saw the hospice advertising an expedition to Kilimanjaro.

"I thought that it would be a good challenge so I trained for a year and was always walking, running and cycling.

"The training was difficult – I was running around carrying bags of potatoes on my back to increase the strength in the back of my legs.

"I wanted to make it as real as possible for the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro."

A dormant volcano, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is 19,340 feet high, making it the fourth highest mountain on the planet.

Sadly, Mr Brooks' group did not make the very top due to a horrendous snowstorm.

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The party also had to deal with torrential rain, altitude sickness and hypothermia.

In order to overcome the cold weather, Mr Brooks said he focused on himself.

He explained: “I thought if I failed then at least I tried.

“I was doing this for the right cause.

Oxford Mail:

“We got letters halfway through the expedition and my parents said how proud they were of me.

“I’m motivated to try again, not just because Tanzania is a lovely country but because this time I want to get to the peak, I am determined to make the top.

“I couldn’t believe the view of Kilimanjaro and the city below.”

Mr Brooks said he enjoyed the whole challenge and meeting people on the journey.

He said: “All the people I met were new to me and I got to know them and became very close to them.

“I managed to pick up some of the language from the Tanzanian people and made some great friends.

“The porters were so kind in keeping us going and helping keep us entertained.

“They would carry your bags and help you recover.”

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Though he has already raised £6,700 for Helen and Douglas House, he is still hoping to reach his target of £8,000.

His group of 12 have already raised £48,000 between them.

The money raised will help to pay for new equipment and entertainment for the children at Helen & Douglas House.

Inspired by his adventure, Mr Brooks is now planning to go scuba diving in Mozambique and deep-sea diving in the Red Sea and around the Galapagos Islands.

He said: “I’ve got a lot of things going on next year.

“I do love a challenge and I like to keep busy, and I want to see the world and learn new things.”

Helen and Douglas House has run for over 30 years and provides 24/7 care.

The hospice costs £3.6 million a year to run, with almost all of that coming from donations.