A father who wanted to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for research into his son’s terminal illness was forced to turn back 400 metres from reaching his goal.

Andrew Cudlip, 55, suffered altitude sickness and had to watch the four other members of his group reach the summit without him.

“It was really tough, one of the hardest things I have done. My lungs felt like they were doing overtime.”

The guides and porters, who carry all the equipment, advised Mr Cudlip to return to base camp after he began to suffer from severe headaches and nausea.

“They were excellent – they really made it look so easy. They were carrying all our kit on their head.”

Mr Cudlip had already climbed 5,200 metres to raise money and awareness for Niemann-Pick Disease Group UK, a charity that has supported his family throughout his son’s illness.

“His mother was showing him my progress with a map to see each day how far I had gone. I am sure he understands more than we think.”

Ben, 22, was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick type c – a rare and deadly neurodegenerative childhood disease – at the age of 13 after suffering several seizures.

Mr Cudlip has so far raised £700 and after a week’s rest he plans on training for future fundraisers and hopes to reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in the near future.

“I have got to get myself back into it and raise awareness because it is such a rare disease.”

To make a donation, log on to www.justgiving.com/ andrew-cudlip1