THREE friends are taking on the ultimate triathlon challenge as they run, swim and cycle to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris – all in aid of St Rocco's.

Paul Le Riche, 50, Nick Johnson, 42, and Kelly Langley, 48, started to swim the English Channel at 4.30am on Monday.

The friends are taking on the 'Arch to Arc Challenge' in memory of Paul’s mum Pamela Le Riche and to raise funds for patient care at St Rocco’s, a place close to Pamela’s heart.

Their challenge started on Sunday morning and involves running the 87 miles from Marble Arch in London to Dover, swimming the channel and then cycling the 187 miles from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

By the time they get into the channel they will already have been on the go for 20 hours.

The team will be covering it as a relay so that one of them will be running, swimming or cycling for an hour and then the next one takes over.

They are hoping to beat the time set earlier this year by a Russian three-man team of 41 hours and eight minutes.

Paul, originally from Burtonwood, describes himself as an ‘ordinary person’ who wants to 'do something extraordinary for an exceptional person'.

He said: "Mum was one of the original volunteers at St Rocco’s when it first opened in Orford. I know it had a big impact on her and reflected her own desire to help people and their families through difficult times of their lives.

"Once my brother and I got a bit older she took up a career for herself in care and nursing homes. I’m sure that this was due to her experience as a volunteer at St Rocco’s. She felt very passionate about it and I know that if there had been no family left, she would have left everything she had to support the work at St Rocco’s.”

When Pam became ill she knew that she could turn to St Rocco’s for help and they supported her during her illness, helping to manage her symptoms. As was her wish, she died at home surrounded by her family in March 2017.

Paul had originally planned a solo attempt for the challenge but as he wanted to take part in memory of his mum and complete it this year, he realised that he would need a little help from his friends and enlisted the support of Nick and Kelly.

They are also experienced endurance athletes and Nick was already lined up to be part of Paul’s support team.

Nick said: “I was already committed to helping anyway. It was just a question of changing my mindset to competitor mode and focus on training."

The group have set themselves a collective target of £15,000.

If you would like to support them visit