THREE intrepid friends are preparing to scale Britain’s highest mountain to raise money for life-saving hospital equipment.

David Thwaites, 28, Phillip Whitehead, 33, and Andrew Rowley, 34, all from Darlington, will climb Ben Nevis next month to raise funds for a new pulse oximeter for the children’s ward at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

After being inspired to take on a charity challenge while watching Children in Need, Mr Whitehead and Mr Rowley had initially asked their friend and personal trainer, Mr Thwaites, to whip them into shape.

But after hearing their plans, Mr Thwaites agreed to climb the mountain with them, and the trio have so far raised about £400.

Mr Rowley, a CNC machinist at Shildon Manufacturing Company, said: “I am pretty nervous. I think it is probably the hardest thing I have ever done.”

Mr Thwaites, who works at Lifestyle Fitness, in Darlington, added: “They have both done really well. I didn't think I would ever see them do this.

“We have been doing a strength and conditioning programme to get them ready.”

The friends will take on their charity challenge on Saturday, August 8.

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Mr Thwaites is also helping with a Help for Heroes family fundraising day at Lifestyle Fitness on from 1pm to 4pm on Saturday, August 16.