PAEDIATRIC nurses from Southend Hospital are taking on a tough 12-mile obstacle course to help parents of sick children.

The group is limbering up for the Tough Mudder Challenge on April 26.

The course, designed by the British Special Forces, includes ice pools, rope climbs, smoke tunnels and electric shock therapy.

The nurses are putting themselves through possibly the hardest ever assault course to raise funds to buy collapsible beds for parents of children on Neptune ward.

With space at a premium on the high-dependency unit, these beds fold down from chairs and will allow parents to stay with their sick children 24-7 without compromising the day-to-day operations of the ward.

Rebecca Simmonds, a sister on Neptune ward, who suggested the challenge to her colleagues, said: “This is much-needed equipment that will improve care and make the parents feel more comfortable.

“We’re doing a lot of training, running up to five miles in the woods. It can be tricky after a long shift, especially when it’s cold and raining.

“We’re planning to give ourselves a treat when we reach the ten-mile mark.”

Kayley Harvey, community fundraising manager added: “It’s wonderful to see our nurses going the extra mile to make the stay on Neptune Ward a little more comfortable for the parents.

“Our staff are a true inspiration and we wish them the best of luck with the very tough challenge ahead.”

To make a donation, contact the fundraising team on 01702 385 337 or donate on-line via