THREE brothers who grew up in Witham are taking part in a gruelling 24-hour relay race to raise money for a national charity that supports the families of seriously ill children.

Scott Darney, 37, of Chelmer Road, Witham, his twin sibling Stuart Darney, 37, of Alma Drive, Chelmsford and Sean Darney, 34, of Burgess Field, Chelmsford, are running in the Spitfire Scramble with the hope of raising £3,000 for the Sick Children’s Trust.

The passionate marathon runners decided to take part in the herculean multi-terrain challenge, that will see them repetitively alternate 5.75-mile laps for a full day, after their brother Simon and his wife Hannah’s son Jasper spent 77 days in hospital following complications after his birth.

Jasper was soon diagnosed with a congenital birth defect called Oesophageal Atresia with Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula, which prevents the upper part of the oesophagus from connecting with the lower oesophagus and stomach.

This meant Jasper’s food couldn’t pass from his throat to his stomach and as a result, Jasper had to have corrective surgery at just two days old.

Speaking about the energy-exerting, overnight race, which will see the inspiring brothers tackle several marathons in preparation, the Witham Running Club coaching assistant said:

‘‘None of us have done anything like this before - we’ve only really done marathons and some trail running.

‘‘The three of us have been looking for a tough challenge and a good event where we can run together, so we had already discussed doing the event, but after Jasper was born we decided we definitely wanted to enter and to try and use this as a way of raising funds.’’

During Jasper’s lengthy period, in which the now six-month-old had three surgeries, the Sick Children’s Trust provided Jasper’s parents and close family with constant support and temporary accommodation.

This meant that whether he was recovering from his operations at Addenbrook’s Hospital or Great Ormand Street Hospital, Jasper and his family could always be within close proximity.

Jasper’s father Simon said: ‘‘When there was an emergency we could be there immediately, day to day we could look after him, comfort him and hold him and feel like we were contributing to his recovery and when it had been a tough day on the ward it became our sanctuary.

‘‘It also allowed Jasper’s sisters to get close to him and feel a part of his life and we could feel like a family.’’

The Spitfire Scramble takes place on July 14 and you can sponsor Scott, Stuart and Sean here: