IT WAS the route taken by Sir Edmund Hillary when first climbing Everest.

Now Newport father-of-three Richard Jenkins is to follow in his footsteps - and help raise money for Crohn's Disease at the same time.

The 38-year-old of St Julians is taking part in the trip because his daughter Samantha suffers from the disorder.

Mr Jenkins is to trek the 75 miles from Lukla Airstrip to Everest Base Camp, and is leaving for Kathmandu on Feburary 3.

When he gets to the camp he will reach a peak of 18,400 feet and hopes to raise £4,000 in sponsorship.

The money will go to Action Medical Research, which has a number of Crohn's disease research projects.

His firm, Solutia, has given him full support, as well as his local pub and businesses.

Preperations for the trip having been going for a year, he says, with weekly trips to the Brecon Beacons and the gym.

"I've even had to grow a beard to keep me warm while I'm there," he joked.

Crohn's came into the Jenkins' life 18 months ago, when his daughter was diagnosed with the illness after a long stretch in and out of hospital.

"It was a relief when we found out what it was - she had lost a lot of weight and had come down to just six and a half stone," he said.

Since she was diagnosed, the disease has been brought under control.

Now Richard hopes his fundraising will help raise awareness of the illness as well as helping Samantha.

"Our first reaction when we found out was 'What's Crohn's?' We'd never heard of it."

The charity is currently researching a vaccine for the illness, as well as ways of blocking the build up for scar tissue in the bowels.

For more information on sponsorsing Mr Jenkins, click here to see his website or click here to e-mail him.

What is Crohn's disease? Crohn's Disease is a chronic inflammatory illness that can affect the entirity of the digestive system.

The disease affects the gut wall, inflaming it and causing a wide range of symptoms.

Symptoms can include diarrhoea, weight loss, fever, tiredness, adominal pain, sore mouth and even sore eyes.

Even with surgery the disease, thought to be hereditary, has a tendency to recur and can cause complications outside of the intestines