Richard Pughe, a partner at business recovery and financial advisory firm Begbies Traynor in Leeds, is in training for an expedition to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro - to raise money for Harrogate-based charity Artizan International.

Richard will be accompanied on the 19,340 ft climb next February by his wife Nikki Sutcliffe, son Tom and stepson Lucas, as well as his friend James Bate.

“We were all inspired to take on the challenge and raise money for Artizan after visiting their café in Harrogate and seeing the fantastic work they do to help differently-abled people become more independent through training and education.

“They are making a tremendous difference to people’s lives, both in Harrogate, with their café and creative workshop, and through projects in Ecuador and Peru,” said Pughe.

With the aim of raising at least £1,500 for the charity, the family are training for their eight-day Kilimanjaro expedition by walking in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales and this summer spent time hiking in the French Alps near Chamonix.

“Without doubt, coping with the altitude and low oxygen levels will be the most challenging aspect of the climb,” said Richard. “We are doing as many high-level walks as we can and all trying to increase our fitness in preparation for February’s trip. We want to raise as much money as possible for Artizan International and it would be brilliant if our expedition inspires people to sponsor us.”

Susie Hart MBE, founder of Artizan International said: “We’re tremendously grateful to Richard, Nikki and family for choosing to support our work with differently-able people locally and overseas in this way and the funds they raise will make a huge difference. We’ll be able to provide training and support that’s literally life-changing, for many more people with disabilities, thanks to their support. We’ll be cheering them on, all the way.”

Susie set up Artizan International in Harrogate in 2013 after establishing a craft centre social enterprise in Tanzania to give local people with disabilities training and employment.

Differently-abled people in the UK are often socially isolated and the charity launched to provide free weekly therapeutic crafts sessions for adults with disabilities in Harrogate and Leeds.

Artizan International also runs projects to provide fairly paid work for people with disabilities in Peru and Ecuador, selling the jewellery and crafts they produce in its Harrogate shop. The nearby training café in Harrogate is currently helping 23 young adults with learning disabilities to become independent.