EIGHT friends from Melksham are planning to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge next Friday (June 22) to raise £1,500 for the Devizes & District Opportunity Centre which helps children who are severely disabled.

They are Josh Arnold, Ben Macey, Alex Dobbins, Bradley Overton, Ross Jones, David Rodgers, Daniel Hitchcock and Oliver Dimond.

Their aim is to scale Britain’s three highest peaks – Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales within 24 hours.

Ben Macey’s daughter Mya, seven, is physically disabled and attended the centre when she was younger. She has since progressed to a mainstream primary school.

Ben, 25, said: “We are all from Melksham and have been friends since going to the George Ward School. We’re hoping to complete the challenge in around 23 hours so it will be close.”

The three peaks are Ben Nevis (1345m), Scafell Pike (978m) and Snowdon (1085m). The total walking distance is 23 miles (37km) and the total ascent is 10,052 feet (3,064 metres). The total driving distance is 462 miles.

The Devizes & District Opportunity Centre is a specialist early years centre committed to promoting the overall development and life chances of young children who have disabilities, learning difficulties and complex health conditions.

Ben said: “The centre is close to our hearts, my daughter Mya, who was born at 28 weeks weighing only 1.6lbs, attended the centre from nine months old until she was four.

“The difference this made in Mya’s life was fundamental in her progression and she now attends a mainstream school.

“The work they do opens up a world of opportunities for children with special needs and their families through high-quality early years education, therapeutic care and ongoing support.

Already the friends have reached £1,250 or 83 per cent of their justgiving fundraising target of £1,500.

To donate: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mountaingoats3peaks