A BUSINESSMAN from Darlington has completed the Three Peak Challenge in just 24 hours.

Francis Jones, owner of Sparta Security, a Darlington-based private security firm, navigated three mountains – Scotland’s Ben Nevis, England’s Scafell Pike and Wales’ Snowdon – in a bid to raise money for a cancer charity.

The challenge was completed between Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26.

“It was a incredible experience, but one I don’t want to repeat anytime soon,” said Mr Jones.

“I am absolutely shattered. To say it was a hard task would be a understatement, it was unbelievable.

“Not only did we have to navigate some of the mountainous terrain in complete darkness, but we also had to battle against the elements.

“It was 3am when we got down from Scafell Pike and we’d had to endure strong winds and torrential rain.

“For someone like myself, who knows nothing about mountaineering, it felt like a very dangerous task.”

Mr Jones said he would not have been able to have completed the climbs without the guidance of Dean Marson and Adam Kemp, Sparta Security team members and keen mountaineers who completed the challenge alongside him.

“There were times when I felt like my body was giving in, and you have to find that motivation to keep going from somewhere,” said Mr Jones.

“Even if your body isn’t willing, your mind needs to be.”

The group travelled in a campervan specially donated to them for the trip by a supporter.

“We were getting two to three hours sleep in between climbing, but we were determined,” Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones chose to raise money for County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Charity in memory of his mother, who passed away from cancer ten years ago, which makes the cause all the more important to him.

“Cancer has affected almost everyone in one way or another,” he said.

“It has taken the lives of so many people and loved ones.

“The gentleman who lent us the campervan had lost his sister to cancer, and he wanted to contribute in some way to helping us raise money for the cause, and the hospitals that help those people in need.”

Mr Jones is still hoping to reach his target of raising £2,700 and has donated £500 to the cause himself.

A JustGiving page has been set up to receive donations and can be visited on www.justgiving.com/fundraising/francis-jones4