A TEACHER is helping to spread awareness of male suicide by raising thousands for charity following his climb up Kilimanjaro.

Joe Varey, assistant principal at UTC Warrington in Dallam Lane, climbed the mountain in Tanzania during the October half term for Andy’s Man Club – a charity which aims to reduce the rate in male suicide.

Joe wanted to raise £500 for the charity but went on to raise £2,770, smashing his original target.

In his address to students in the new year, Joe told them about the gruelling task of fighting altitude sickness, freezing temperatures, and challenging climbs on the mountain terrain.

He said: "Andy’s Man Club do an astonishing job of supporting young males who battle with their mental health.

"For me, it has always been a very personal task to climb the mountain.

"Raising so much money is great for the charity but I am more touched by the many comments and messages I have received from people I have never met saying that I have helped them with their own personal battles.

"Students have been stopping me each day and asking how I got on during this climb.

"It’s been difficult to try and summarise the experience and express the different waves of emotion.

"However, I want to leave the students with a lasting impression about them grabbing every opportunity, taking themselves on a journey of development, and not to worry about the challenge in hand."

Andy's Man Club was set up following the death of Andy Roberts who killed himself at the age of 23 and encourages members to speak openly about their problems without judgement.

When one of Joe’s close friends took his own life 18 months ago, he found support from Andy's Man Club and has since gone on to raise money and awareness for the group.

A spokesperson for the club said: "Joe has inspired not just the students but countless more people who require the support of our charity.

"2019 has seen an increase in the number of men visiting groups across the north west, many of whom will talk openly about their mental health without a stigma.

"All of the money that Joe has raised will go back into the clubs to support those ordinary men who use the charity each week.

"Andy’s Man Club would like to thank Mr Varey and UTC Warrington for raising the profile of our charity and the support available to men who just want to talk."