FAMILY and friends of a young man who died of a rare heart condition raised almost £20,000 in his memory by climbing Britain's highest mountain and they have promised to keep climbing.

Hundreds of Joe Wilson's relatives and classmates scaled Ben Nevis to raise the cash for a host of chairities.

Around 170 people – the biggest group ever to climb the mountain– were led up Nevis by the 17-year-old's father, Alan, and his best friend, Chris Lawlor.

The pair were left devastated when Joe, from Carfin, near Motherwell, suddenly collapsed and died of a heart condition in December.

But they decided to do something to make Joe proud –climbing the 4408ft peak and helping to raise £19,000 for charity. Mr Wilson, 51, said: "The climb itself was amazing – it will live in my memory forever. It was physically and mentally exhausting, a really emotional day.

"But I'm glad we were able to do something positive in Joe's memory. It really was out of this world and I'll never forget it."

The money raised will go to the British Heart Foundation, St Andrews Hospice in Airdrie, and Carfin Grotto – which was one of Joe's favourite places.

Chris, 18, climbed Ben Nevis with Joe last summer and says it was the best way to honour his "amazing friend".

He said: "Around 170 people took part in the event, so I was expecting to raise a large amount of money. But £19,000 is so much more than I could ever have expected. There's been a great contribution from the whole community.

"Now, we can look back at this and say something positive has come from Joe's death and we have helped some great causes."

As reported by the Evening Times, Joe collapsed on December 15 and was rushed to Wishaw General. Sadly he died six days later. After his death, his father, mother Veronica, 49, and sister Angela, 14, were told by doctors he had been born with a rare, undiagnosed heart condition.

A sixth-year pupil at Taylor High in New Stevenston, Joe had obtained five A-grades in his Higher exams, winning the school prize for outstanding academic achievement. His dream was to work in medicine and he had volunteered his services at Wishaw General and St Andrew's Hospice.

His school has re-named the library after him. It will now be known as the Joseph Wilson Library Resource Centre.

Mr Wilson continued: "Everyone got involved – so many of Joe's friends climbed with us – and I am just so thankful for that. We will keep raising money for charities in Joe's memory. This is definitely what he would want us to do.

"We have a few events planned, including a school concert and a DJ event in Glasgow, to raise money for charities that were important to Joe."

To donate to Ben Nevis: In Memory of Joe Wilson, visit www.justgiving.com/Chris-Lawlor or www.justgiving.com/teams/joebennevis

rebecca.gray@ heraldandtimes.co.uk