SKIPTON man Matthew Wilson has conquered Kilimanjaro in a ten-day climb which has raised thousands for Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People.

Former Skiptn RUFC player Mr Wilson, 31, made the 5,900m ascent up the peak - Africa’s highest mountain - in Tanzania in February, raising more than £5,600, surpassing his initial target to raise £2,500 for Martin House, as well as a further £2,000 to pay for the trip.

He said about the trip: “It was really hard but just absolutely amazing. It was honestly the best experience of my life.”

It took nearly six days to climb the mountain, where Mr Wilson had to face the challenges of being at such high altitudes.

The journey saw the team experience temperatures of around 30 degrees when when set off, but dropping to minus 30 degrees by the time they got to the top.

He added: “When we were on the final ascent we set off at midnight, so we could get up to the summit for daybreak, but I was walking up in the pitch black and all I could see were people’s head torches, and the extreme altitude was so tough, I was losing my breath all the time.

“It really helped to think about the sponsorship I’d raised and all the support I’ve had, to drive me on and get to the top.”

He decided to tackle the challenge after retiring from the rugby pitch after 20 years, gaining 100 first team caps for Skipton at number 7.

He said: “I’ve got two children, and I’m very fortunate they are healthy, so I wanted to support a children’s charity.

Martin House and the work it does just stuck out straight away.”

Martin House cares for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions – and their families – across West, North and East Yorkshire, including respite stays at its hospice, support in hospital and in people’s own homes.

Chris Verney, regional fundraiser at Martin House, said: “It was an incredibly tough challenge, but Matthew did an amazing job, and absolutely smashed his fundraising target.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to him.”

The hospice, based in Boston Spa, has nine bedrooms in Martin House, and six in Whitby Lodge, which cares for teenagers and young adults up to the age of 30, and sometimes beyond.

For more information about Martin House and how to support it visit