The Ryedale sisters canoe through Scotland for a deceased friend

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TWO sisters from Ryedale are set to canoe through Scotland in memory of their friend.

Gena Douglas, 62, and Linda Pepper, 58, will travel by canoe from Fort William to Inverness on September 2.

The sisters, who grew up in Wilton, will undertake the 60-mile trip over six days with five nights of wild camping in memory of their friend Wendy Howarth.

Wendy Howarth, also of Wilton, died on March 21, 2020, after a long battle with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The permanent condition affects the central nervous system.

Gena described Wendy as a “real tear, a real farmer”.

Wendy was married to her husband, Jack, who supported her through her illness.

She had three children, Sally, Jack and Rosie, and was diagnosed with the disease after Jack was born.

Gena and Linda will pay tribute to their friend along the journey, which will raise funds for the national respite center Leuchie House, near North Berwick, where Wendy received respite care.

Wendy would take respite breaks at the center, organized by the MS Society.

The respite center offers care for neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease and Parkinson’s disease.

“Wendy had many happy times at Leuchie House, and we believe the 60-mile and wild camping challenge will be a shining tribute to her attitude and positivity through tough times,” Gena said.

“The determination and positivity that Wendy has shown throughout her illness will enable us to meet this lifelong challenge.”

Gena explained how she would travel to North Berwick with Wendy, travel to Dunbar by train from York, then travel to Leuchie House with fond memories of drinking gin and tonic along the way.

The Ryedale Sisters will raise funds for the Leuchie House National Respite Center near North Berwick, Scotland

She said: “The staff at Leuchie would be great. We were always greeted with big smiles.

Gena explained how Wendy would be well cared for at the respite center.

Wendy was going on trips with the staff to Edinburgh – even going to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Before the canoeing adventure, Gena and Linda trained at Wykeham Lakes, near Scarborough.

Gena has described herself as the “new kid on the block” when it comes to canoeing, and credits the idea to Linda.

Despite this, of training, Gena said: “It’s going really well, I’m definitely a lot fitter and ready for (the trip).”

The sisters set up a JustGiving page ahead of the event, aiming to raise £500 for national respite center Leuchie House.

More information about Gena and Linda’s epic canoe trip, and to donate, can be found on their JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gena-and-linda-leuchie-house

Donations and sponsorships can also be sent to: Wray House Farm, Marishes YO17 6UJ.

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