THREE friends have braved the gruelling challenge of climbing up some of the UK’s highest mountains all in the name of charity.

Lawn Manor Academy HR manager Esther Newman, along with her close friends Denise Glover and Sonja Shedden, decided to take part in the Three Peaks Challenge in memory of Esther’s sister Zoe who died in 1991, aged six, after suffering with leukaemia for five years.

The trio have raised more than £1,500 already and hope to bring that total up to £2,000 by hosting a celebration evening on Tuesday at the Bengal Square Curry House.

Esther, 42, said while the challenge of trekking up Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis was physically difficult, knowing that it would help families like her own who were supported by CLIC in Zoe's final days, made the climb worth it.

"The challenge itself was great fun, we were blessed with beautiful weather and some of the best views the guides we had ever seen.

"It was a challenge and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy but we had trained hard. The most difficult mountain was Scafell Pike as it was 10.30pm when we arrived and we only had our head torches for light. It was sad that we didn’t get to see how beautiful it was but we were so tired when we got back on the bus at 3am that we just slept until Snowdon.

"The event took us a little longer than the 24 hours planned due to road closures but we didn’t care once we accomplished it."

CLIC provides clinical, practical and emotional support to families to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life during the time they have left with their loved ones.

Esther has been good friends with Sonja, 44 since last year after a chance meeting over their love of their cockapoodles Ruby and Bailey.

Sonja was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and after being given the all clear three years ago, she said she wanted to do her bit for charity.

Esther added: "We did the event with a large group of 27 and unfortunately some of those who took part did not manage to complete all three mountains which made us realise how lucky we were.

"It was a fantastic experience and I would encourage anyone who is thinking about doing it to take the plunge. We are now looking forward to a year off before we decide on our next challenge. We would like to thank everyone who has donated, it means so much to us to have the support we've had."

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