A HAIRDRESSER is preparing for a fundraising bike ride in memory of her best friend.

Marie Hawkeswood, of Richmond, North Yorkshire, will cycle 550 miles from the Thai capital Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, in Vietnam.

Mrs Hawkeswood, 38, hopes to raise £3,000 for St Teresa’s Hospice, in Darlington, in memory of her best friend and business partner Tracey Willis, who died of cancer in 2012, aged 43.

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The ride is also in memory of Mrs Hawkeswood’s uncle, Mick Kilvington, who passed away last year.

She will be accompanied on the 15-day ride by husband and wife Michelle and Keith Robertson, who live in Kent.

Mrs Hawkeswood, who runs Hackers barber’s shop, in Darlington, said: “Me, Tracey and Michelle used to work together more than 20 years ago.

“When Michelle moved away, we stayed in touch and Tracey and I set up the hairdressing business in Darlington.

“I have wanted to do something in memory of Tracey and this ride is also in memory of my uncle.”

The trio fly out to Thailand later this month.

Mrs Hawkeswood added: “I am ready and excited for the challenge. I’ve done quite a lot of work for it and I am bored of sitting on my exercise bike in the dining room.

“I am looking forward to seeing some scenery.”

To sponsor the riders, visit justgiving.com/traceywillis