FRIENDS DIG DEEP AS JASON REACHES NEW HEIGHTS

A man who is recovering from leukaemia has climbed one of the world's highest mountains and hopes to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Jason Tingle, 33, who served his engineering apprenticeship at TS Harrisons in Heckmondwike, climbed North Africa's highest mountain, Mt Toubkal in Morocco, which stands 4,167m high.

He said: "I spent what seems like an eternity in hospital in 2001. I made a promise to myself that when I got out of there I was going to climb a mountain. I had never climbed before – only probably walked to the pub on a Friday night then needed to get a taxi back.

"But when you make a promise you should always keep it, especially when you make it to yourself."

The feat has raised 2,000 in sponsorship so far but Jason hopes to be able to donate between 5,000 and 10,000 to Leukaemia Research.

In February 2001, seeming to have flu, Jason went to the doctor. He was told he had a tumour the size of a football in his chest, and leukaemia. He had T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which only affects 15 people a year.

He was told he had an eight per cent chance of survival.

Jason is an internal consultant for GE, who lives in the Cotswolds but comes back to his home town of Mirfield most weekends to follow his beloved Huddersfield Town and see his parents Marlene and Barry who live in Knowle Road.

He is now in remission but will not be given the all clear until June 2006.

"You have got to be positive. When they first said I had leukaemia you think you are going to die, but I didn't want to," he said. "If I died, my mum would have killed me."

But Jason is used to doing things the hard way – he is dyslexic but five years ago he graduated from university after doing his degree over 12 years on day release.

Money has been donated from family and friends and has come in from America, Australia and Northern Ireland.

He said: "Firstly, I wanted to do it for myself. Since then I had three complete strangers come up to me. All three said they had had cancer before and just said I had been an inspiration to them.

"I never meant that I did it for myself more than anything and after that my mum and dad said I should do it for money.

"I haven't pushed sponsorship but I don't think you will find a family where nobody has been touched in any shape or form by leukaemia.

"Regardless of race, sex, rich, poor or political opinion it can hit anybody – that's it's only redeemable feature. It can happen to everybody."

Donations can be made via the Guardian and Herald's sister paper the Reporter – contact Steve Pryke or Anna Locking on (01924) 468282.