The death of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease has inspired six Cumbrian women to tackle a gruelling trek through the Alps.

In April this year Linda Simpson’s mother Jean Pagan died aged 85 after living with Alzheimer’s for several years.

Linda is one of five friends from Carlisle and Penrith who walk in the Lake District every Wednesday.

In 2015 they trekked up Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, to raise money for various charities.

Now the women, along with friend Karen Reay, have walked the Tour du Mont-Blanc in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, so fair raising £900.

The cumulative ascent and descent of the walk, which took eight days in July, is close to 9,000 metres. That’s more than the height of Mount Everest.

Linda, 64, says: “It was a real challenge. It was a lot harder than we all thought it was going to be. But the scenery was fantastic.

“We walked in three countries - France, Italy and Switzerland - all beautiful, and met some lovely people.

“My mum passed away in April. I knew Alzheimer’s was quite a prevalent disease but I didn’t realise how prevalent.

“There can’t be anybody who isn’t aware of somebody who has suffered. It was amazing that everyone agreed to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. We’re very much a team.”

The team includes Tess Brennen. “We’ve been walking together for 15 years,” she says. “After Kilimanjaro we always planned to have another challenge. We all remember Linda used to say she’d be going out for a walk with her mum.

“We decided on Mont Blanc last September. One of the walkers, Lesley Udberg, had done it before. She was happy to guide us. There was some scrambling, snow fields and climbing across rivers on boulders. The steepest parts of the climb were incredibly steep. We had the hottest temperatures in Europe. It was getting towards 37 degrees.

“There would always be somebody optimistic to keep us going. We all supported each other. That was the real essence of the journey. There were days when we would walk together. Sometimes you just needed time on your own to reflect on what you were doing. We know each other well enough. We joked, would we still be speaking to each other at the end?”

They were, and they still walk together every Wednesday.

Linda spent much of her time on the Tour du Mont-Blanc thinking about her mum. “It was quite poignant. She loved walking. She loved the Lakes. We would go and walk there. As her illness progressed she was unable to walk very far. Eventually she was in a wheelchair. She would be proud of us for doing this. She would be delighted.”

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