TEENAGER Thomas Hawkins and a group of his friends and lecturers are taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

The youngster’s 16-year-old cousin was diagnosed last month with a serious form of bone cancer, devastating his family and inspiring him to take on the fundraising challenge.

The 17-year-old, who studies public services at New College, said: “I found out just a couple of hours before I had to go to work at Laser Quest. It’s true what they say in the adverts; it was one of those moments where you just feel everything fall. You don’t wish it on anyone, least of all your own flesh and blood and it’s just horrible.

“But I soon realised that getting upset wasn’t going to help the situation so I started to think about what I could do to make a difference.

“It was one of my lecturers in the end who asked whether I had thought about the Three Peaks.

“I knew my cousin was a very outdoor loving person, so I thought about many options and with help from friends, family and lecturers at New College I decided to organise a Three Peaks 24-hour challenge.

“They were really supportive but they let me organise it all myself.

Within a month the youngster organised a team of 10 – including three people to sort out the admin and transport them between the mountains scattered across the country – of his friends and lecturers. Together they hope to raise £5,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, the charity chosen by Thomas’ s cousin.

Thomas said: “We’ve already raised £1,000 which is absolutely amazing.

“The amount of support for this challenge has been amazing. New College have donated the transport and fuel, Laser Quest in West Swindon have helped me publicise the event and Robert Buckland MP and my local councillor, Tim Swinyard, have also been really supportive. It has really gone well.”

The Three Peaks Challenge takes place on August 18 and 19 and involves climbing the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales – Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis.

To support Thomas and his team, visit his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/Thomas-Hawkins1.

You can also donate by texting TPKS3 followed by your amount to 70070.