A FIRST Dates star and police detective intends to keep a promise to a friend she lost to cancer with an incredible challenge.

Claire Slater, from Radcliffe, and her childhood friend Fiona Ellis were both diagnosed with the disease within days of each other at the age of 32.

Shocking though the diagnosis was, they found facing the future together was an invaluable source of strength.

Ms Slater said: “Neither of us thought it was going to end up being cancer but the timing was just crazy, us being diagnosed at the same time. Cancer can be a lot harder and more isolating for people who are diagnosed at such a young age.

"But what was nice was how we could support each other, go for coffees with each other, that type of thing.

"But equally when you’re diagnosed so young you just think why me?”

Together, Ms Slater and Ms Ellis both underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, proton beam therapy, several major surgeries and fertility treatment.

The pair were eventually given the all clear, however Ms Ellis’ cancer would tragically recur. Last year, she died of the disease.

Now, Lancashire Police detective Claire, who works in Blackburn, aims to honour her friend’s memory with a very special pledge.

She said: “Me and Fiona had planned to climb Mount Kilimanjaro together as soon as we were both well enough.

"Just before she died I promised her that I would still do that and would take her photo to the top with me, so we will both still make it to the summit.”

Ms Slater hopes that the profile she has built from her recent appearance on Channel 4’s First Dates will help to attract more sponsors with the goal of raising money for MacMillan and other cancer charities.

This is not the first life-saving work she has undertaken, in 2018 Ms Slater made headlines when, on patrol as a police officer in Bolton, she helped to save a six-day-old baby from choking by giving him first aid.

To sponsor Claire Ellis’ climb, go to: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ClaireSlater12