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A group of friends from the Staffordshire Moorlands are set to tackle the summit of Mount Toubkal in North Africa

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 29, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

From left, Dianne Taylor, Zoe Zacune, Tasha Zacune, Louisa Pickford, Linda Scragg, and Jeanette Mountford.

From left, Dianne Taylor, Zoe Zacune, Tasha Zacune, Louisa Pickford, Linda Scragg, and Jeanette Mountford.

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An all-female team of trekkers are set to embark on a gruelling climbing challenge together.

The seven friends from the Staffordshire Moorlands will be travelling to Morocco in North Africa next month to tackle the summit of Mount Toubkal in a bid to raise funds for charities.

The team has been organised by health therapist Louisa Pickford of Endon, and also includes community psychiatric nurse Dianne Taylor, of Norton Green; Jeanette Mountford, of Stockton Brook, who works at Leek United Building Society; mental health support worker Linda Scragg, of Leek; Anne Hancock, of Leek; Tasha Zacune of Leek; and her daughter 14-year-old Zoe.

The team will also be supported by Juliet Clarke, who had set to also take part in the trek but has broken her leg.

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Louisa, aged 43, said: "The money I raise will be split between Cancer Research UK and the Stroke Association.

"I have had close family members who have been affected by cancer or strokes, so they are both charities which are close to my heart."

Dianne, aged 49, has decided to raise funds for Douglas Macmillan. She said: "My dad died six years ago and the Dougie Mac nurses provided a lot of support.

" It's nice to see money going to a local charity."

Forty-three-year-old Jeanette said: "I am raising money for The Christie's Royal in Salford where my mum was treated before she passed away, along with Wythenshaw Hospital in memory of former colleague Alan Embury."

Linda, aged 55, will be raising money for Leek Gateway Club. She said: "The club is a fantastic resource for adults with learning difficulties.

"I have worked with people with learning difficulties in the past and my friend's son has learning difficulties.

"The Gateway Club is a valuable service, especially as people with learning difficulties have had so many cuts of services lately."

Westwood College student Zoe will be raising cash for Love4Leah in memory of former classmate Leah Powell.

Zoe said: "Before Leah sadly passed away she was always very positive and brave.

"Her charity was the first I thought of when considering which one to raise money for."

Standing at 4,167 metres (13,671 feet), Mount Toubkal is the highest mountain in North Africa. The team will be flying out to North Africa on September 13 and will be starting their climb on September 15. It is set to take them two days to make it to the summit.

Tasha, who has trekked Mount Toubkal before, said: "I did it around six years ago.

"It was tough but I am looking forward to doing it again because the feeling you get when you reach the top of the mountain is just amazing.

"We will be trekking from the bottom to a refuge hut halfway up for a night before carrying on to the top -– all the while acclimatising to the altitude." Louisa said: "Last year I was just sitting there thinking that I wanted to do something to give myself a challenge.

"I decided on climbing Mount Toubkal and, once I started to talking about it to my friends, they decided to take part too.

"We have done quite a bit of training including the 26 miles Hills and Dales walk.

"I am quite excited but also nervous about this challenge."

Anyone wishing to sponsor any of the ladies can call Louisa on 07800 976708 or email her at louisa.pickford1@ntlworld.com.

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