AN ANDOVER schoolboy has gone above and beyond in his fundraising efforts for a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.

Connor Pagett, 15, has already climbed two of Britain’s biggest mountains and spent his half term walking 100km as he bids to raise money for a conservation trip to Africa.

Connor will head to Tanzania for four weeks this summer as part of a schools expedition.

The trip will cost him £4,000 and so he has been taking himself to new heights to raise the money.

During the Easter break Connor climbed Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales, and Scafell Pike, the highest in England. Each climb, which he gathered sponsorship for, was completed in under four hours.

“My dad used to take me out for long walks with a weight on my back to get me used to it,” said Connor.

He also undertook a 100km walking challenge during his half term break in October last year. He walked 20km a day for five days straight after finding out some children in Africa have to walk that distance every day to get to school.

“In my mind it was to put myself in their shoes and do something that we take for granted — we have a five-minute car journey to get to school.”

Overall 20 pupils will travel to Tanzania, supported by charity Camps International, to take part in activities including wildlife preservation, community projects, a safari and mountain trekking.

“Over the course of the four weeks I’ll be doing a variety of conservation projects to help keep some of the local wildlife alive,” said Connor.

“And we’ll be building houses and schools for people in the local area.”

Part of the conservation work will involve educating locals about the wildlife which they often mistake for pests.

The group will also take part in a teambuilding exercise to rival his recent climbs — a three-day mountain trek carrying 7kg of weight on their backs. He says the aim will be for the group to band together to help each other through.

Until then Connor will be taking up some less strenuous activities — he is planning a quiz for local schools as well as fundraising at fetes in his final push before the trip, which he leaves for on July 31.

With three months to go, he has raised more than half of the £4,000 target, and it has been an experience he will not forget.

“All the fundraising seemed like something I wouldn’t normally do with my time and the trip seemed like something great to look back on in the future.”

He added: “To me it seems like a once in a lifetime opportunity.”