TWO Wirral woman have raised more than £7,000 for North West Cancer Research after a gruelling six-day cycle challenge through Vietnam and Cambodia.

Julie Smith, 55, and Joanne Masterman, 46, returned home from their 400 km challenge after training for more than eight months cycling around Wirral, Liverpool and North Wales.

Both support workers at Wirral Met College the friends received donations from Wirral Lions Club and raised cash through activities such as auctions and raffles.

The money raised will go towards life-saving cancer research projects in the area including supporting the use of proton beam therapies in head and neck cancer treatments, developing effective skin cancer drugs and the first ever clinical trial for patients with bile duct cancer in partnership with researchers and clinicians across Merseyside.

Julie said: “This was probably the biggest challenge either of us has ever completed and achieved – it’s most definitely the furthest we’re ever been way from home and family. We are very supportive of each other and really enjoyed the cycling challenge.

“We would wake up every day at 5.30am, have breakfast at 6am, and be ready to set off by 7am until around 7pm in the evening. Although we did lots of training beforehand, nothing could have prepared us for how difficult it was to cycle in the heat – so lots of water and rest stops were needed throughout the day.

“Vietnam and Cambodia are both beautiful countries, the local people were so welcoming. The crew from Global Adventures were fantastic and we met some lovely people, many of whom were also on their own fundraising challenges.

“We feel very privileged to have raised more than £7,000 for North West Cancer Research. We decided on this charity as it was named as Wirral Met’s charity of the year. We went on tour of one of its research labs in Liverpool which showed us just how important fundraising is to support the research they do.”

Fundraising manager at North West Cancer Research, Bobby Magee added: “On behalf of the charity I would like to thank Julie and Joanne for helping raise this fantastic amount of money.

“With their support we will be able to continue to find cancer research projects which will make a real impact locally.”