A PILOT will be reaching new heights as he scales the peaks of one of the world's most famous mountain ranges in honour of his much-missed parents.

David Sweeney, 37, lost his mum Christine to Motor Neurone Disease (MND) earlier this year - just a year after his dad Phelim passed away after a battle with a brain tumour.

To pay tribute to his parents, and to raise money for MND Scotland, David is preparing for the charity's overseas trek to the Himalayas in 2021.

He found out about the expedition two weeks before Christine passed away, aged 64, four years after she was diagnosed with the condition.

David said: "It was always my intention to raise money for MND Scotland and to offer just a fraction in return for the support the charity gave mum and our family.

"Trekking in Nepal has always been one of my great ambitions.

"I have been waiting for the right event, something that was achievable for me but also something that would require hard work and physical dedication, and would be a real lifetime’s achievement."

Christine's diagnosis followed changes in her health such as slurred speech and difficulty in controlling her fingers.

After a series of tests, David's dad phoned him on June 30 in 2016 to tell him the news.

He said: "I will never forget the shock and disbelief I felt when he told me.

"I didn’t fly that afternoon and headed straight to my mum's to be with the family.

"Despite all of the emotions, and although we now had a diagnosis, my mum hadn’t changed overnight and we still had many fun times ahead of us."

The Sweeney family decided that they were going to face the battle head on.

David and Phelim met with MND Scotland to discuss the support available in the community and Christine attended local groups where she made great friends.

Christine continued to play golf long after she was diagnosed, and would head for the shops whenever she could, and the family continued to go on holiday.

The family also banked Christine's voice in a computer file, linked to a tablet provided by MND Scotland, which allowed her to speak with her own voice for the rest of her life.

The charity also helped the family secure a grant for a specialist wheelchair.

David added: "Mum saw every aspect of MND as a hurdle to be leapt over and a challenge to overcome.

"Her positivity and lust for life was evident to everyone she met and meant that caring for her was a pleasure.

"She was always smiling and laughing."

Almost two years to the day after his mum's diagnosis, David's dad Phelim - who had retired to care for Christine full-time - was diagnosed with a malignant stage four brain tumour.

The cancer was sadly very aggressive and David died peacefully at home with his family by his side, just six months afterward.

David says that despite his mum's ailing health, she continued to hold the family together and plan for the future.

Tragically, just over a year after Phelim passed away, Christine lost her battle.

David, from Bridge of Weir, has been supported throughout by his wife Lynsey and children Reid, five, and Elise, three.

He's all set for next year's challenge and says he is very proud to be taking it on to raise money in memory of his devoted parents.

David said: "The Himalayan challenge brings together teamwork, high altitude, long trekking days and everyone working towards the same goal - to raise as much money as possible for a cause so dear to all of us.

"As difficult as it was losing my mum in such tragic circumstances, we all realised how well she had lived her life, particularly after her diagnosis.

"Anyone in Scotland whose life has been touched by MND in some way will tell you how important this charity is.

"At every twist and turn of my mum's MND journey, MND Scotland were there for us.

"Now it is time for me to do all I can for them.

"I was so lucky to be able to tell my mum that I would be taking on the challenge and I know how proud she will be."

To sponsor David visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/davesween