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Stairway to heaven... NI cleric climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in his own home for charity

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Rev Andy Heber from Carnmoney Parish Church on his stairs

Rev Andy Heber from Carnmoney Parish Church on his stairs

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

Rev Andy Heber

Rev Andy Heber

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Rev Andy Heber from Carnmoney Parish Church on his stairs

A running reverend in Co Antrim is raising money for charity by climbing the height of Mount Kilimanjaro on his own staircase.

Rev Andy Heber of Carnmoney Parish Church has committed to climbing the 6,000m height by running up his 15 stairs at home 76 times a day for nearly a month.

Having started on Sunday, he estimates he has already climbed 2,128 of the 31,922 steps to the top.

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"I'm a runner anyway which is why I decided not just to walk it, so I'm trying to view it as a workout every day really," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "My wife's more worried about the carpet on the stairs than my knees. It turns out you can do it quite quickly, it took me around 17 minutes to do my 76 flights this morning."

He decided to sign up to 'The Climb', a challenge from the Tearfund charity where fundraisers can choose to climb the height of Ben Nevis (1,500 metres), Four Peaks (4,000 metres) or the highest of Kilimanjaro at 6,000 metres.

"I'm quite aware of how lucky we are in this country, we have sinks to wash our hands in and a good healthcare system," he said. "I was reading about other countries where they are struggling for things like hospital beds and ventilators."

Looking to the future, he said he hopes to one day travel to Tanzania and climb the famous volcano, the highest peak in Africa, for real.

"It's always been on my bucket list even though it is meant to be very expensive," he said.

With church services still cancelled during lockdown, Rev Heber has been keeping in touch with parishioners by recording a daily thought for the day on video.

"We're also doing the Sunday services online and actually found our congregation has more than doubled as a result," he said.

"I'm ringing around to check in on people and working quite closely with one of our community workers and support those who really need it. I've found that most people are doing really well and I'm actually surprised by just how resilient people are."

Rev Heber's efforts have raised over £1,000 so far of a £1,500 target. Further information on the fundraising challenge can be found by visiting carnmoneyparish.com


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