A LOVING dad whose life was cruelly cut short was honoured by his family and friends, who scaled three mountains in his memory.

Jim Winter was just 51 when he died suddenly from meningoencephalitis – meningitis and encephalitis – after being rushed to Great Western Hospital with stroke-like symptoms last August.

His son Matthew, of Blunsdon, took on the Three Peaks Challenge with a group of 20, which saw them climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Snowdon in Wales in under 24 hours.

READ MORE: Family plans Three Peaks Challenge in dad's memory

They raised more than £20,000 – more than double their target – for the Encephalitis Society. 

Matthew said: “I was very nervous before doing it, we were all a bit emotional. 

"Then every time we felt like giving up, me and my brother James would always say 'dad is at the top so we have to get there'. 

“On the last mountain, me and my mum (Mandy) cried as we got to the top, it was emotional, and it really hit us why we were doing it.

“We were happy to have completed it, but sad for the reason we had to it. 

"But I know dad is looking down at us and he is very proud and probably had a good laugh at us.”

They team trained by going for long walks and the gym in readiness for their gruelling test in May. Matthew admitted there were blisters, aches and pains afterwards.
The family plan to take on more challenges in the future to keep raising money for the charity in memory of their dad.

“Hopefully, with the money we have raised it will help to shed light on what happened to dad and help other people,” Matthew said. 

“My granny Beverley is 69, she’s had hip and knee replacements and she made it to the top with us, which was amazing. 

"I made memories I’ll never forget, it was extremely difficult and I couldn’t feel my feet when we finished. 

"But it was worth it. We had raised the money so we had to get to the top no matter what.

“My family and friends went up in two coaches, we started the climb of Ben Nevis on the Friday, which was really hot at the bottom, but as we got to the top there was two feet of snow.

“On the last one, Snowdon, we accidentally took the hardest route up, at first I thought it was easy and then all of a sudden we were walking on ridges in fog. 

"It was quite dangerous and scary, but we made it to the top."

To find out more or to donate visit www.gofundme.com/f/3-peaks-challenge-in-memory-of-my-dad