A HANWELL man is about to take on Mount Everest in his biggest challenge yet.

Andy James, 55, who has lived in the town for nearly seven years, is about to set off for his two-month expedition and will also be raising money for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

Everest is not the first mountain he will have conquered. In 2009, he climbed Kilimanjaro the highest mountain in Africa, followed by Aconcagua, highest in the Americas, in 2011 and Cho Oyu also in the Himalayas last year.

He says his second home is Gold’s gym in Hanwell, where he has worked hard to keep his weight down, meaning he has had to stay away from his favourite pub, The Castlebar on Uxbridge Road, and his favourite restaurant, Charlotte’s Place, on St Matthew’s Road.

He said: “Abel, the owner of The Castlebar, probably thinks we’ve moved away. Until very recently, I haven’t told anyone outside of my family that I am going to climb Everest in case they think I’ve gone bonkers.

“I expect to lose a lot of weight while on Everest and I am sure I will need the help of both The Castlebar and Charlotte’s Place to put it back on!”

James has had the support of his whole family, notably wife Clare.

He said: “she’s a walker and we go to the Lake District very often, but she prefers to look up to the higher summits rather than down from them.

“My children love to hear about my exploits, ut they are not mountaineers either. It’s just me, I’m the mad one.”

The Ellen MacArthur Trust, launched in 2003, helps to rebuild the confidence of young people who have suffered from cancer and leukaemia through sailing.

James will be blogging and tweeting his progress throughout the trip.

He said: “Even though this is going to be an incredibly hard expedition in a harsh environment, it is not about isolating yourself.

“Through the blog, I can explain to people what the expedition is like every day and I feel connected to those back home as well.”

To support Andy, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=AndyonEverest

His blog: andyoneverest.weebly.com/blog.html