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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 20:37 GMT
Ex-rugby stars scale Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro
The ascent of Kilimanjaro took about five days
Former Wales rugby stars JPR Williams, David Pickering and Jeremy Pugh have completed a charity climb of Africa's highest peak - Mount Kilimanjaro.

Fifteen of the 16-strong party completed the 5,895m (19,340ft) ascent of the Tanzanian mountain.

The trek, which was led by Pickering, the Welsh Rugby Union chairman, has helped raise 100,000 for children's charity NSPCC's Full Stop campaign.

The party set out from Cardiff last week ahead of the five-day climb.

'Amazing experience'

The trio of ex-Wales internationals was joined for the climb by Cardiff Blues chairman, Peter Thomas, chief executive of the Principality building society Peter Griffiths and Lt Col Dickie Davis, Mike Laing and Ian Blackwood of the Royal Welsh Regiment.

Pickering, 46, said: "It was just the most amazing experience of my life - and quite the hardest thing I think I've ever had to do.

David Pickering (right) sets off from Maindy Barracks, Cardiff
David Pickering (right) sets off from Maindy Barracks, Cardiff

"Many of us were pushed to our absolute limits. It took us five days to get to the top and we went through different climates and terrains.

"All the hard work and pain was worth it, though, for the feeling we all had when we reached the top. It was quite early in the morning and the views were simply breathtaking.

"We all knew it was going to be a tough challenge, but I don't think any of us realised just how tiring it was going to be, both mentally and physically."

The walk was part of his attempt to raise 100,000 for the NSPCC's Full Stop campaign, which aims to end cruelty to children.

JPR Williams
Wales rugby legend JPR Williams also took part in the climb

Pickering added: "The most important thought in all our minds when we reached the top was that we had done something to help the NSPCC fight cruelty against children.

"That's why we took on this challenge and the thought of reaching our 100,000 fund-raising target was what kept us going."

Carol Gillanders, NSPCC Full Stop campaign manager for Wales, said: "NSPCC Wales is delighted that David Pickering and his team have been successful in their conquest of Kilimanjaro.

"Their personal commitment to helping end cruelty to children is personified in this challenge."

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