A chartered accountant is honouring a 36-year friendship by tackling a half-ironman triathlon.

Rolanda Hyams, 63, from Elstree, has been inspired to take on the challenge by her close friend Sharon Berman, 58, who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

They met 36 years ago when their daughters were at school together and before Sharon’s diagnosis.

She was diagnosed with MS 25 years ago at the age of 33 and the disease has gradually reduced her mobility to the point where she is now confined to a wheelchair and unable to do anything for herself. The mother of three lives in Aldenham where she is cared for by her family and a carer.

Rolanda says she is taking on the triathlon in honour of her friend and will be raising money for Hemel Hempstead-based spinal cord injury rehabilitation charity Neurokinex.

She said: “We discussed the idea of my challenge at Sharon’s son’s wedding last summer and I mentioned I wanted to raise money for an MS charity. However, Sharon asked me to raise funds for Neurokinex instead.

“I wasn’t surprised that Sharon asked me to raise funds for other clients at Neurokinex rather than herself. That’s a typical,unselfish response from her. Im working my personal trainer and swim coach who will help me every step of the way. I’m determined to do my very best for Sharon and Neurokinex.”

Sharon said: "I feel honoured, humbled and extremely grateful that Rolanda has been inspired by me to take on this challenge but didn’t want her to do it for me personally or MS as I know Neurokinex is a young charity that needs all the help it can get. I honestly couldn’t imagine life without my weekly session there. They have adapted my treatment as my condition has progressed but still have me standing aided and transferring with their amazing help from chair to chair. They even manage to have me running on a treadmill with the assistance of four incredible trainers."

Rolanda’s training faced a setback when she broke her ankle in September by falling into a pothole which prevented her from resuming a full training programme before February.

The Vichy Half-Ironman challenge takes place on August 24 and Rolanda must complete all three disciplines in under nine hours.

To support Rolanda, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rolandahyams2019