A BRAVE schoolgirl has climbed 3,560 feet up Mount Snowdon to keep the memory of her intrepid dad alive.

Ellie Dickens, 11, from Rudheath, was walking in the footsteps of her father Stuart, who died suddenly last year aged just 30, after raising more than £25,000 for vital research.

Northwich Guardian:

Ellie climbing Mount Snowdon with Lisa Simkins

Stuart suffered from a rare bone condition and had to undergo two hip replacements.

Northwich Guardian:

Stuart on his first Snowpaedic Challenge in 2016 with his mum Tracey

"He was so grateful for his new hips he wanted to thank his surgeon Lt Col Carl Meyer by walking up Snowdon," said Stuart's mum Tracey Stuart-Hodkinson, from Rudheath.

"Before the surgery he had difficulty walking on crutches. He really struggled."

Stuart only discovered his hips were crumbling in 2015, when he had his first operation.

Stuart launched the first Snowpaedic Challenge in 2016, after his second hip was replaced, to support the Orthopaedic Institute Charity based at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital where he underwent surgery.

Since then, the annual sponsored walk has grown and so far has raised more than £25,000 towards research into veteran care.

Northwich Guardian:

Stuart, who underwent two hip replacements because of a rare bone condition, raised more than £25,000 through his Snowpaedic Challenge

This year, on September 21, Ellie, a year 7 pupil at Hartford High School, decided to tackle the challenging hike up the highest mountain in Wales.

"It was emotional," said her gran Tracey, 50, who works at Barclays Bank in Gadbrook Park. "She was the apple of her dad's eye. They did loads of things together.

Northwich Guardian:

Ellie proudly holds a picture of her dad Stuart

"She loves car racing. Her dad was a marshall at Oulton Park. They also used to go camping."

Ellie, who used to attend Victoria Road Primary School, managed to raise more than £500 on her own!

Northwich Guardian:

Ellie enjoying a well-deserved ice lolly

"She was really excited when she came down," said Tracey. "She was tired but said she wants to carry on doing the climb every year for her dad.

"We are so proud of her. She is just a little superstar. One of the gentlemen who did the walk said Ellie was smiling all the way up and all the way down.

"She is an absolute inspiration to her dad."

Northwich Guardian:

Ellie follows in the footsteps of her dad Stuart and conquers Mount Snowdon

Ellie is learning to play the drums and loves football and dancing.

Debra Alexander, organiser and fundraiser of The Snowpaedic Challenge, said: “I couldn’t be happier for Ellie and her family. Stuart would be so proud. Ellie completed the challenge along with Lisa Simkins and 116 other fabulous fundraisers including staff, patients and friends.

"They all arrived in great spirits and glorious sunshine to tackle the Llanberis Path.

Northwich Guardian:

Ellie was thrilled to reach the summit

“Stuarts’ Snowpaedic Challenge is always a fantastic fundraising event and we hope to beat last years’ figure of £6,200. All the money raised will support research for our veteran patients with lower limb conditions and provide teaching for staff within the new veterans’ centre planned at the hospital.

“The weather was incredible and the amazing views and pictures from the mountain were worth every step of the way. I cannot thank Ellie and everyone who took part enough and a special mention has to go out to all the volunteers, including Ellie’s nan and grandad Tracey and Neil Stuart-Hodkinson, who helped make the day so enjoyable.”

READ > Markets remain 'at the heart' of town centre regeneration scheme

Tracey said 2018 had been an emotional year as she lost her son Stuart in May and her mum Barbara Cookson, 72, from Rudheath, died 12 weeks later, and then she got married in December.

"Neither Stuart or mum saw us get married," said Tracey. "It's a shame Stuart didn't know that he had helped to raise £25,000 but he would be so proud of Ellie continuing his legacy."

To help Ellie to raise £1,000 visit virginmoneygiving.com/fund/Snowpaedicchallenge

Anyone interested in joining next year's Snowpaedic Challenge team of fundraisers can call Debra Alexander on 01691 404561 or email enquiries@orthopaedic-institute.org.