Burnley dad joined by friends on first leg of trek in memory of brave wife and mum who was part of cancer research project

Friends of a Burnley dad and his two children donned their walking boots and braved the rain yesterday to complete the first leg of the Pendle Way.

Nine youngsters between the ages of seven to 12 were among the walkers who joined Simon Foster and his son and daughter Aaron, (nine) and seven-year-old Annabelle.

Simon said: "It wasn't easy going, with some big hills, big showers and strong winds, but we made it.

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"I was surrounded by some fantastic friends and special respect to the children who all did amazing."

The walkers ready to smash the first leg of the Pendle Way yesterday

Simon took on the challenge to complete the 45 mile walk over four Sundays, in memory of his wife, Debs, who died before she could see the results of a research project she was part of at Manchester's Christie Hospital to make breakthroughs against cancer.

A great believer in the power of science, Debs, who died in June at the age of 44, had been proud to be part of the research project working towards finding tailormade treatment and chemotherapy for different types of cancer.

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And Simon has already raised a magnificent £2,000 to support the research project.

Poorly since Christmas, Debs underwent a series of tests and biopsies until doctors discovered she had cancer of the bile duct, a particularly aggressive form of the disease.

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Simon with his wife Debs, who died in June, and their children Aaron and Annabelle.

A student at the former St Hilda's RC Girls' High School in Burnley, Debs, who worked as a childminder, died within 10 weeks of the diagnosis. Simon and Debs had been together for 23 years and married 19 years ago

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One of the things that gave Debs comfort, despite the terrible situation, was that her samples were part of a trial with the Christie hospital and the knowledge that, even though it was too late for her, that she may play a part in helping to defeat the terrible disease.

If anyone fancies joining the Fosters they will be walking the second leg next Sunday starting at Barnoldswick heading for Laneshaw Bridge.

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Simon (left) with fellow walkers who joined him on the first leg of the Pendle Way
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Simon with fellow walkers on the first leg of the Pendle Way challenge