A DEVOTED uncle has recently taken on a gruelling trek across Furness and the Lakes to raise money for charity and awareness about sudden deaths in childhood.

Tony Boylan, of Preston, recently undertook a demanding walk of around 60 miles over four days across the Furness region and the fells in Cumbria for the charity, Sudden Unexplained Death In Childhood.

His niece, Rebecca Higgins, of Barrow, lost her 23-month-old daughter, Kieana, to sudden death in 2005, and Mr Boylan's quest has been both in memory of Kieana, and for the charity working hard to help families affected by sudden deaths.

Mr Boylan, 48, said: "Doing it for a charity that is quite unknown in this country it is good to start spreading the awareness of the actual charity and the cause itself.

"The work they do is phenomenal and, as I say, I do personally think it should be the awareness that should be spread a lot more."

The Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Foundation is based in the USA.

It provides a resource for information and support, serving families and professionals affected by SUDC and promoting awareness of it in communities.

Mrs Higgins, 35, who works at Furness General Hospital, has said how proud she is of the achievements of her uncle and the remarkable work of SUDC in supporting friends and families who have been affected by sudden deaths.

Mrs Higgins said: "He is a lovely man and remembers Kieana well. He wanted to do something to help raise awareness, and he combined it with his love of walking.

"The more acknowledgment it (SUDC) gets the better, and we will have a better understanding of this.

"I am just really proud of him and so grateful towards him." 

Mrs Higgins is set to be part of a team competing in this year's Keswick  to  Barrow with around 20 others in "Team Kieana" in a further mission to raise awareness for the work of SUDC.