WHEN Jackie Gavin scaled the highest mountains of Scotland, England and Wales, she was joined by three special teddy bears.
For the 49-year-old takes each of the cuddly toys away with her in memory of her three children who died, Mollie, aged six, Lucy, four days, and Luie, three hours.
She was joined on the Three Peaks Challenge by friend and Bolton Council colleague, Kelly Burke, and Gareth Price, from V1ntage Health & Wellness Studio in Knowsley Street.
They completed the gruelling trek in 23 hours and 12 minutes, with Mrs Gavin raising money for The Compassionate Friends, a charity for bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings.
Mrs Gavin, married to Stephen, took one of her children’s bears to the summit of each of the mountains — Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon — last weekend.
She said: “In about 2006, we started travelling. Wherever I go, I’ve got these three bears.
“Mollie had a little bear that has her name on it.
“They came with me and I took one up each mountain. I’m trying to see the world for them — bears on tour.”
Mollie died from leukaemia on August 6, 2003, Lucy on September 18, 2003, after being born at 25 weeks and Luie, on August 11, 2008, after Mrs Gavin went into labour at 18 weeks.
Following Lucy’s death, the family found out about The Compassionate Friends, set up by Wendy and Denis Pye, after their 22-year-old son Mark was killed crossing Moss Bank Way to catch a bus in 1987.
Mrs Gavin, from Sharples, completes a challenge in aid of the charity every year and has so far raised more than £24,000.
She said: “I’m not sure where, or who, I’d be without them. I do not know if I would physically be here.
“You just don’t know where to turn.”
She has also found solace attending V1ntage, since January 2013, which holds group exercises classes and encourages members to take on a challenge each year.
Mrs Gavin, a senior legal assistant, said: “I have thrown myself into the gym. It took me several years but now I don’t seem to be able to stop.
“That’s my coping mechanism. I like cycling and walking, keeping busy.”
Mrs Burke, who completed the challenge in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Cancer can have an effect on everyone whether it is through a family member or friend. In my case, it has been both.”