A HELENSBURGH student has paid tribute to her late mum by raising almost £4,000 for charity.

Alex Burns, 21, sadly lost her mother to cancer but decided to give something back - and walked 100km to support Worldwide Cancer Research with her friend Tara.

Former Heritage Academy pupil Alex, who is originally from Helensburgh and now studies at the University of Edinburgh, was joined by her best friend Tara Haworth in the epic walk for charity along the Union Canal which runs from Falkirk to Edinburgh.

Alex’s mum, Anne, lost her life in 2018 after initially being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. The mum of two went into remission but was told the cancer had returned in 2014.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Alex and Anne BurnsAlex and Anne Burns

Alex told the Advertiser: “Four years after her second diagnosis in 2014, my mum passed away on March 25, 2018, which was also her birthday. It’s been really difficult since then, and I’ve not really talked about it much.

“We chose Worldwide Cancer Research for a few reasons. Firstly that my mum, when she was alive, enjoyed raising money for research into cancer, completing the race for life in the years she was able to.

READ MORE: Roni runs marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support

“However, I chose to raise money for Worldwide Cancer Research specifically as they fund new avenues for research, which can be last hopes for people at the end of their journey with cancer.”

Alex and Tara were aiming for a more modest sum of £1,000 in their fund-raising efforts, but smashed that target by thousands of pounds, raising £3,905 in the end. But Alex explained how the 100km walk took its toll on the pair.

“It was absolutely horrible, and although we don’t regret raising the money it was a very overambitious challenge.

“We weren’t able to walk or even stand for about a week afterwards, in a lot of pain from 45k onwards.

“We were walking at a fast pace from 4am till midnight.”

And for those who might be going through a similar situation to Alex, she offers comforting words: “I’ve found the experience of connecting with others over my loss through this walk extremely empowering.

“Even before doing the walk, it was amazing to see everyone express their joint grief but also celebration of my mum.

“Grief is something that everyone finds so hard to talk about, and it presented a really beautiful opportunity for connection.”