A LOVING son has spoken of his joy at completing an arduous charity climb of the highest peaks in the UK in memory of his father Mark who died of motor neurone disease (MND).

Lee Wickett, a self-employed Tavistock painter and decorator, promised to his dad before he died that he would complete the adventure — and last Friday he kept his word, as he reached the summit of his final peak, Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands. Lee was on cloud nine after completing the epic, saying: “It was an amazing challenge to do with Steve Andrews, Steve Payne and Nige Locke and I will be forever grateful to them for doing everything they done for 9 Peaks.

“We are all very grateful to everyone that has kindly got behind our fundraiser for MNDA as it makes a difference. It was challenging physically but mentally it doesn’t come close to helping care for a loved one that has MND and that drove us on every day in difficult conditions. If anyone would like to donate the page is still open on just giving, please search for 9 Peaks for MND.”

Lee spent last week (Monday, July 31 to Friday, August 4) climbing mountains in Scotland, Wales and England to raise sponsorship for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), a charity supporting all affected by MND. The MNDA also funds research into MND. Lee and three friends Steve Payne, Steve Andrews and Nigel Locke, completed the final climbs of Ben Nevis, Ben Macdui and Braeriach in Scotland on Friday (August 4) having endured wet and windy weather in their hectic schedule.

Lee’s dad Mark died last summer after the disease took over very fast and he and his family were grateful for the care of the charity. Mark was revered in Tavistock for his inspiring coaching of young people in all kinds of sports over many years when he supported those of any ability and capability to play to and get the most out of it. He gave hundreds of children and young adults confidence and self-belief.

Lee’s mother Jan, said: “How immensely proud we are as a family on Lee’s achievement on completing his challenge and for his determination to fundraise and make awareness of MND in the hope of helping others. MND has such a devastating effect on anyone diagnosed with the disease and their loved ones.Also to thank Steve, Steve and Nigel for their unconditional support for Lee when he came up with the idea of doing the 9 Peaks in his dad’s memory. I, as a mum and Nicky, as a wife, are both very grateful for this. Mark only survived just under a year from being diagnosed and in that time the MNDA were there for support guidance and were there at the end of the phone for any advice. So far he has raised over £5,000 which is amazing!”

Helen Mackie, of the MNDA, said: “Lee and the whole 9 Peaks team have shown the most incredible determination and motivation taking up this epic challenge. I’m so grateful that, despite the horrendous weather conditions, they kept pushing through to the finish. The difference they have made in raising vital awareness and fundraising is going to make a huge difference to the MND community.

With their tremendous kindness and the support everyone has given them, they have raised more than £5,000 which will help the MND Association ensure that no family faces an MND diagnosis alone. Also, that they have the information, support and financial help to make it a little bit easier. We are committed to funding research to help find a world without MND and this is only possible because of people like Lee, Steve, Nige and the other Steve. I can’t express enough how grateful I am.” To donate to JustGiving visit https://shorturl.at/moD09.