Muddy tribute to best friend

An RAF cadet Civilian instructor will push herself to the limit in an 8km adrenalin-fuelled adventure to raise funds for the hospice that cared for her best friend.
Pic B L-R Denise Sampson and Marie Fricker websized (cropped)
Marie Fricker, 39, (pictured) was devastated when her closest friend Denise Sampson died at Saint Francis Hospice in September 2014 after losing her five year battle with cancer. 

But her grief has spurred her into action and she has joined forces with Denise's husband Alan Sampson from Hornchurch to take part in the charity's Mud N Madness challenge at Stubbers Adventure Centre in Upminster on February 6 2016. 

Pic B L-R Denise Sampson and Marie Fricker websized"The staff were amazing to Denise, her family and to me. I have lost a lot of family members over the years but losing Denise so young was the hardest. We were best friends for 27 years and went to school together."

Alan also took part in the 2015 Mud N Madness back in February and was put through his paces with gruelling activities such as an assault course, archery, river crossings and lots of running through mud and water and Marie is now looking forward to the experience.

"When Alan showed me the photos I thought it looked fantastic," said Marie, who is an Avon representative by day and an instructor with the 2048 Dagenham Squadron RAF Air Cadets in the evenings and at weekends.

"I've done the Star Walk so this is the next challenge for me. I know Denise will be looking down and thinking you crazy mare."

Denise, who had two children, died just six weeks after her wedding and Marie paid tribute to her friend's bravery and determination.

"She got to have the magical day she wanted and even managed to walk up the aisle," she added. Up until then no one would have known what she was going through. She was so strong for everyone."

Alan, 28, from Hornchurch said, "The reason I am doing it again is to thank Saint Francis Hospice for the care they gave my wife in the last few weeks of her life. The nurses and all the staff at the hospice did a fantastic job. More people need to be aware of what the hospice does and the way I can pay the charity back is through raising funds so they can continue doing the wonderful work they do. The hospice is close to my heart and always will be."

To sign up for Mud N Madness, or to find out more, visit or call the Events Team on 01708 771427.

Pic B L-R Denise Sampson and Marie Fricker websized
 Denise Sampson with Marie