A mother is to take on a mammoth cycle challenge in China to raise money for three women's cancer charities after losing her sister-in-law three weeks ago.

Denise Spillane, of Penrhyn Grove in Walthamstow, has taken her weight-loss exercise to new extremes as she prepares to travel 280 miles (450km) across Beijing and along the Great Wall of China in September.

The mother-of-two signed up the WomenVCancer challenge to prove to herself she is still fit ahead of her 50th birthday in August.

Ms Spillane is nearly half-way to raising her target of £3,200 for the three charities; Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, Breast Cancer Care and Ovarian Cancer Care.

Her sister-in-law died three weeks ago from liver and pancreatic cancer after being diagnosed in October of last year.

Ms Spillane said: "This challenge is testament to her. I am so thankful for my own health so I thought why not do this when I still feel young."

Ms Spillane took up cycling in 2010 to help keep her weight down and went from 17.5st to 11st in nine months. 

She said: "I got fed up of being fat. My whole life I've have been big and being a chef I've always been surrounded by food.

"As a child I was called Dumbo and for 30 years my weight fluctuated but I remained big.

"I now cycle to work everyday and go to spin classes. I will fitter than I've ever been and mentally ready for the China challenge."

Ms Spillane will travel to Beijing on Setember 5 to start the seven day challenge the following day.

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