A BRITISH Army major from Basingstoke whose best friend is battling cancer is raising money to help convert his friend's home before he says goodbye. 

Gary Pierce, 44, from Basingstoke is participating in a virtual step challenge to climb the Three Peaks to fundraise for close friend and army veteran Lee Earnshaw.

Father-of-three Lee was diagnosed last year with stage four terminal stomach cancer.

Lee said: “I am a father of three wonderful children, husband and British Army veteran. The diagnosis has rocked the family and I.

“Having served in the British Army for 22 years and having been deployed on multiple operations around the world, including Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan three times I left the military to spend more time with my family having spent many years deployed overseas.

“The family and I have spent the last two years building a new life and enjoying all as to offer.

“This recent diagnosis has devastated me, Natalie (wife) and our fantastic three children (Joshua, Owen and Niamh); but we are adamant that whatever time I have left it will be fun filled and where possible stress free.

“As you you can imagine this diagnosis will have a detrimental effect on my ability to do what I have always done over the last 20 plus years and provide what a father and husband should, firstly, stability and financial support to my family, and secondly, be there as they grow up to make many more memories.

"Both of these are difficult while I fight this battle.

“I hope by setting up a fundraising page I can over the last few months I have left take one last family holiday with my family to make as many memories as possible; my daughter would love to go to Disney World.

"I will also need to convert the main bathroom for my needs over the next few months as the current bathroom is not suitable for my needs and start to make plans for when the time comes when I am no longer around to financially support my loving wife.”

In recent weeks, the cancer has taken hold and Lee has started to require more intrusive treatment which has resulted in him having to rely on a wheelchair and spend more time away from his family as he receives treatment in a hospice.

Gary will be completing the challenge using 14 steps in his local park behind the Apollo Hotel on Popley Way.

The Three Peak challenge will see him use the steps to climb up and down Scafell Pike, Snowdon and Ben Nevis equating to 22,100 steps.

The challenge is to be completed under 24 hours.

Gary is hoping to complete the challenge in under 12 hours.

Lee’s GoFundMe page has so far raised £52,145 out of the £70,000 target needed to revamp his home.