Ribble Valley duo conquer National Three Peaks to raise £5,000 for charity

Katie (left) and her friend Jill Wright climbed the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales to raise over 5,000 for a cause close to their hearts.
Katie (left) and her friend Jill Wright climbed the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales to raise over 5,000 for a cause close to their hearts.

Icy conditions and freezing temperatures meant that a determined mum-of-two had to reach the summit of the highest mountain in Wales on her hands and knees!

Katie Skellern, from Sabden, and her friend Jill Wright crawled to the summit of Snowdon as part of a challenge to scale the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in just under 24 hours

And the hardy duo smashed the National Three Peaks and are hoping to have raised around £5,000 with more to come.

All the money is for Pancreatic Cancer UK to help raise awareness of the disease and also fund early diagnosis which is key to survival, something that Katie feels passionate about. The money Katie and Jill have raised will help the charity to develop new tests for diagnosis, including sending packs out to GPs to look out for the symptoms that mimic many other diseases.

Katie's dad, Peter Edwardson, was diagnosed with the condition in November last year, just two days before his 58th birthday.

The disease had been missed as the classic symptoms of pancreatic cancer, which Peter, who is originally from Whalley, had complained of for four months, are often mistaken for other illnesses such as IBS.

Katie said: "It feels fantastic to have completed the challenge.

"The hardest part was not the walking because we did so much training in preparation.

"It was the tiredness we felt, it was exhausting but we made it."

The duo were among several people taking on the National Three Peaks Challenge to conquer Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in just 24 hours.

The pair were gutted to just get shy of the top of Ben Nevis as their guide turned them round.

They scaled Scafell in minus 11 temperatures before it was on to Snowdon. The walkers had to go up from Llanberis instead of the quicke route of Pen-Y-Pass due to the icy conditions and not all the team made it as exhaustion and various medical issues kicked in.

Katie and Jill managed to get a rather snatched shot at the summit with their banner before it time to come back down where family and friends gathered to meet them.

"It was very emotional and we were both in tears," said Katie. "I would like to thank Katie for doing this with me and for all the support and donations people have made."

Supported by his family, Peter has been battling the disease for 10 months, having treatment in two hospitals with stays in the intensive care unit and critical care where he spent Christmas Day.

He has endured multiple surgeries, countless scans and tests and was finally eligible for the surgery to remove the cancer but two days before his operation the family were given the shattering news that two small hotspots had been found on his liver, which they were treating as 'spreadings' and he was no longer eligible for the surgery.

Four months on and Peter has completed three rounds of a brutal chemotherapy regime and his latest scan results were very promising.

The pancreatic tumour has reduced significantly and the liver spots were undetectable. He needs to complete three more rounds of chemo and then have more scans including an in depth scan of his liver.

A close-knit family, Katie works as events manager at the ICS Live, the events and production company set up by her dad several years ago.

Based in Sabden's Union Mill the business is a real family affair as Katie's husband Lee, her brother Shaune, sister Zoe, cousin Gary McLaughlin and her aunt Tracey Edwardson, who is Peter's sister, also work there.

Katie, who is mum to Sophia (three) and one-year-old Harrison, said the courage her dad had shown was inspirational to the whole family. And it is Sophia and Harrison and Peter's two other grandchildren, Mia (nine) and four-year-old Ella who keep him going as he told everyone he is fighting to see them grow up.

Donations for the duo are still being accepted at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/katie-skellern-jill-wright