Retited army officer Bernadette Rigby is drawing on all her military training as she prepares for a series of fundraising challenges before turning 50.

The former warrant officer, who lives in Colerne with her husband Neil and 20-year-old son Jake, is running a series of long-distance races before her birthday in October. As well as marathons in London and Bournemouth she is planning to complete the Cheddar Gorge challenge over the Mendips, which includes a 10k run, half marathon and a full marathon.

She has already surpassed her fundraising target of £2,014 for Prostate Cancer UK, in honour of former army colleague Lt Col Tom Hall who was diagnosed with the disease last year.

She said: “It was a really, really nasty moment when I found out, and I just thought, what can I do?

“We have already blown our target – I had a cheque for £1,000 from the Royal Signals rugby team, and we have collected over £1,100 – so we are now looking to hit £3,000.”

Friends and family have rallied together to help raise funds, with a charity breakfast planned at the Fox and Hounds pub in the village.

She said: “The landlord at the pub is doing a marathon morning breakfast – he’ll put the telly on and lots of people from the village will come round for a fry-up.

“My son Jake is a chef so his contribution on the day will be to stay and help with the breakfasts.”

She said her 23-year army career was the perfect preparation for her intensive training regime.

She said: “On Sunday I ran for two-and-a-half hours from Colerne through Box and all round Bath and back up.

“I would love to do it in four hours. That doesn’t sound quick to some people, but for me that would be my main challenge.

“It’s been hard work, but my time in the Royal Signals has definitely helped.”

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