A TEAM of crime-fighters are to climb the three highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales in 24 hours for a suicide prevention charity.

The nine-strong squad, mostly from Chester-le-Street CID, will take on the gruelling challenge in memory of former colleague John Puckering and in aid of the If U Care Share Foundation.

Mr Puckering, a successful crime scene investigator and son of former Durham Constabulary Chief Constable Peter Puckering, took his own life two years ago.

Detective Constable Steve Gothard, said: “John was medically retired after struggling with mental health and alcohol problems.

“Three years ago he unfortunately took his own life. His daughter Katie, my stepdaughter, was supported by the foundation after his death.

“It is a fantastic service and we as a family, are forever in their debt.

“CID investigate all suicides and so we routinely work with the charity by referring families to them for advice and support. We see first-hand the critical work which they do to help families.”

The team taking on the epic hike on June 22 are: Detective Sergeant Scott Jameson, DC Steve Gothard, DC Joanne Days and her husband Steve, DC Jacklyn Laws and her husband Shawn, DC Matt Bartsch, former PC Karen Forster and former sergeant Dave Forster will provide support on route.

Katie Puckering, 24, from Great Lumley, said: “My dad was a one-off, a one in a million. “He was so kind and would do anything for anyone. He was the go-to person if you were in need. When we lost him, it was the worst time of our lives.

“After you lose someone, it can feel like people are forgetting them and you feel like you’re the only one who still hurts. Steve and his colleagues taking on this challenge is a reminder that other people are still thinking of him too, and it means so much.

“The foundation is amazing. They never forget my dad’s birthday, Christmas, an occasion where they know I might be finding it difficult. They will send me a card. It’s a small gesture but it’s a reminder that I’m not on my own, and that means the world.”

The team hope to raise as much money as possible and their current total stands at £300.

Speaking of the upcoming feat, DC Gothard, said: “It is a significant personal challenge for all of us and we’re a little apprehensive. It will certainly put us to the test but we are a very close team so we will pull each other through.

“Jacklyn came up with a bucket list for her 40th birthday and the trek was one of them. The idea then grew from there.”

Shirley Smith, founder of the If U Care Share Foundation, said: “Steve and his team at Chester-le-Street CID have stepped up to the mark by taking on the three peaks challenge for us.

“Their efforts will allow us to continue our life-saving work, supporting bereaved families and those at risk of suicide in County Durham.

“We know how vital Durham Constabulary are in the North-East, they support our families in times of mental health crisis and help us in many other ways to ensure the best outcome for individuals.

“We are truly grateful for their continued support.”

To donate to the challenge visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/cls3peaks