A GROUP of friends have launched a five-year fundraising campaign in memory of a mother who died this year of a brain tumour.

Nicky Stickland and Jo Probert are leading the charity mission and will tackle the Basingstoke Half-Marathon on October 5 as their first challenge after their friend Jo Bayliss died of a brain tumour on May 19.

The 44-year-old mother-of-two, who attended Testbourne Community School in Micheldever Road, Whitchurch, and Queen Mary’s College in Cliddesden Road, Basingstoke, before moving away from the area in her 20s, was diagnosed with the brain tumour 18 months before she died.

Nicky, of Fair Close, Whitchurch, said: “We weren’t expecting it.

“She was told it was a slow growing tumour and they expected her to be here for another 20 years.

“I was friends with Jo since I was 13 so I have known her for years.

“You feel like you need to do something when something like this happens.

“Four of us have decided that we will do a long-term fundraising campaign for five years – all in her memory.”

The 45-year-old will join her friend Jo Probert, a mother-of-two, who lives in Laverstoke Lane, Laverstoke, at the half-marathon to kick-start the fundraising drive, with the aim of generating £1,500 over five years for Brain Tumour Research.

At the start of July the pair embarked on a training regime, which includes regular running sessions, circuit classes and weight training.

Nicky said: “We have done the half-marathon three times before but we are following a half-marathon training programme as we thought we would do it properly.

“We have got the backing of Jo’s family, including her husband, Jean, and they are behind the fundraising campaign.”

To support the pair and make a donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/Jo- Lafaury1./