FRIENDS, family and former colleagues of a much-missed woman have smashed the £65,000 fundraising barrier after climbing the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales in one weekend in her memory.

Staff from seven departments at East Lothian Council were joined by friends and family of the late Vera Cameron (pictured inset) in pulling on their walking boots to conquer Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon.

Worsening weather conditions meant not everyone completed the three peaks in under 24 hours, with the first group clocking 21 hours and everyone back down the last challenge, the Welsh mountain, within 27 hours.

The challenge – the latest in a series of fundraising events in aid of three cancer charities – was in memory of Vera, who worked in the local authority’s transportation department.

Vera, of Macmerry, who would have turned 60 this year, passed away five years ago.

Her daughter, Laura-Jane, was among those taking part in the challenge, which this year raised more than £7,500, and thanked the 19 who climbed the three peaks – measuring a total of 11,178ft – and those who had supported their efforts.

She said: “We really can’t thank everyone who has taken part in the challenges or donated over the years enough. Mum was always helping people any way she could so it means a lot to us that we’ve been able to raise such a high amount for Macmillan and Cancer Research, as well as Maggie’s, in her memory.”

Vera was 55 when she died from cancer in August 2012. She attended the village’s primary school before studying at Ross High School, Tranent, and later joined East Lothian District Council.

Following her death, fundraisers have been held each year since in aid of Maggie’s Centre, Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK.

Dougie, Vera’s husband, said the three charities were all very close to the family’s heart. He added: “This was a big year for us so we’re delighted to have beaten our £60,000 target.

“We’ve met a lot of new friends, who have shown up again and again.

“Everyone who has helped organise everything, Ray Montgomery from the council in particular, and our support teams for the various challenges also deserve special recognition. We couldn’t have achieved what we have without them.”

Joining them on the trek were council employees Ray Montgomery (head of infrastructure), Jim Lamond (corporate resources), Paul Grant and Conor Sutton (property maintenance), Paul Ritchie, Zoe McFadzean and Colin Sturrock (HR), Ian Crook (IT), Dougie Cameron and Sarah Oliver (waste services) and Stuart Baxter (area partnership).

Mr Montgomery, Vera’s work colleague and family friend of nearly 30 years, said: “We’ve been on a real journey over the past five years.

“There’s been a great team spirit in everything we have done and the challenges help keep Vera’s memory alive.

“We’re already thinking about what we can take on next year!”

To make a donation, go to raising/ray-mont gomery7