A former priest who was forced to retire early by a life-limiting illness is to push her body to its limits to raise money for two causes close to her heart.

Judith Morgan, 56, of Queens Avenue, Seaton, was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Fibromyalgia 12 years ago.

Although she continued to work as a priest in Sunderland for six years, she was eventually forced to retire from her dream job and return to West Cumbria, where she was born and grew up, to live with her mother and three dogs.

The illness has left Judith with muscle and joint pain, flu-like symptoms and fatigue which can make even the simplest of tasks challenging. But she is determined that that will not stop her from walking around Buttermere to fundraise for the Penny Jones Animal Hospice, which is near Brampton, and Adriana Hirtan, who rescues dogs from dreadful conditions in Romania.

“I will push myself to the limit doing this walk but that is for one day only,” she said.

“Adriana and Elizabeth push themselves to the absolute limit of their physical abilities every day to make the world a better place for the animals in their care.

“Most days I struggle to do the things I used to take for granted.

“Walking upstairs feels like running a marathon and, on my worst days, I struggle to even get out of bed.

“It’s an unpredictable illness and is classified as a hidden disability but it is all too apparent to those who suffer from it.”

The unpredictable nature of her illness has meant that Judith has not been able to set a firm date for her walk but she hopes to complete it in the next week with her dog Albert, who is a rescue dog adopted from Arad in Romania.

Judith said the walk should take an average person a couple of hours but may take her all day.

She is prepared to take that if it means raising money for two causes close to her heart

The money raised will be split equally between the two causes.

Donations can be forwarded to the PayPal address MorgJud@aol.com