SOME might say you would have to be “barking” mad to climb a hill, bike through a forest and kayak a lake in a single day.

But that is exactly what eight animal-lovers from Armac Veterinary Group are doing to raise money for guide dogs and training.

The team of staff from Armac clinics at The Rock, Bury, Fairfield, and Bradshaw are preparing to tackle the Coniston Challenge on September 7.

Student veterinary nurse Francesca Saville and Jody Simmons will be taking part alongside vet Nick Guy, veter-inary nurse Sarah-Jayne Evans, receptionists Gemma Epstein and Eleanor Steele, maintenance worker Chris Laverick and ex-staff member Emma Green.

Francesca Saville, aged 22, of Rochdale, said: “It costs Guide Dogs £48,000 to train a single guide dog so we are trying to raise as much money as possible.”

Their challenge is to trek up 10km fell The Old Man of Coniston, complete a 12km cycle around Grizedale Forest before kayaking one mile across Coniston Water. Armac Veterinary Group has a contract to treat all guide dogs at the Atherton Guide Dog Centre and staff have been won over by the faithful companions to the blind and partially sighted.

With around £1,700 already raised, they need to meet a £2,500 target to take part but hope to make in the region of £3,000 overall.

Francesca added: “We are already raising money in numerous ways and have ‘puppy cards’ at all of the surgeries where people can pay £1 to guess the name of a puppy and potentially win £15.

“We also have donation tins in all surgeries — any donations would be fantastic.

“We are looking forward to raising as much money as possible.”

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