Family and friends take on ‘Total Warrior’ in memory of cancer victims

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A group of friends and family from across Pendle and Burnley have joined together to take on a challenge of a lifetime in memory of two cancer victims.

The 11-strong team, who have dubbed themselves The Corned Beef Kings, will push themselves through the arduous “Total Warrior” following the death of Burnley businessman Paul Harper and Padiham resident Gill Brydges.

They are hoping to raise £1,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Father-of-three Mr Harper (56), who founded world-leading horse arena firm Equestrian Surfaces, died in February, while Padiham resident Mrs Brydges (58), a former hairdresser and carer, died last month.

Mr Harper, who attended Gawthorpe High School and lived in Newchurch-in-Pendle, invented and developed his own arena surface which has been used by horse trainers and racecourses in Australia, Europe and America.

Mrs Brydges, an identical twin, was a keen traveller, who enjoyed knitting and cooking. A perfect party hostess, she was entirely devoted to her family, including her husband Arthur, sister Sharon, children Andrew, Steven, and Matthew, and her granddaughter Meg. In 2007, Mrs Brydges’ life changed forever when her first-born Andrew died suddenly.

Talking about the upcoming challenge and paying tribute, Mrs Brydges’ daughter-in-law Beth Hughes (29), of Dugdale Road, Burnley, said: “It was originally 10K, but they have extended it to 12.5K to fit all the obstacles in.

“Steven [Gill’s son] and I have definitely stepped the training up now - it is quite frightening, as this is completely new for us both, but I am excited.

“Gill would have been very pleased - unfortunately we lost her, before we could tell her about it.”

And Sharon Jackson (34), owner of Harp Ceramics in Colne, added: “At my Uncle Paul’s funeral we all decided to do this for Cancer Research to raise awareness of this awful disease.

“It is our little way of saying how much we love these people who have been taken away too soon.

“They were both such big characters, who lived for life. They never showed for a moment that they were suffering - they put on brave faces and a smile, even though it must have been horrendous.

“We are petrified about the challenge, but we are going to go and have the best time. We want to stress that money raised will be given out locally.”

The Total Warrior challenge will take place in Leeds on June 21st.

To make a donation visit Colne’s Harp Ceramics, or visit