TWO Haslingden friends who embarked on a different sporting challenge in every month of 2012 have raised almost double their initial target.

Ben Zebrowski and Matthew Clawson, both of Grane Road, originally set a target of raising £2,012 for the Brain and Spine Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

But a fantastic initial response to the duo’s early exploits prompted them to revise their target and attempt to raise £2,012 each.

Now, having completed all 12 events, they are planning a fundraising ball this month to take them over the threshold, having collected £3,942 so far.

University of Central Lancashire graduate Ben, who works for Lancashire County Council, said the pair were overwhelmed at the support they had received from friends, family and total strangers.

Their feats included gruelling open water swims, runs and bike rides and extreme sports like skydiving and canyoning.

The 27-year-old said: “We’re both chuffed to have finished it but there are mixed emotions because we really enjoyed doing it too.

“I was so nervous before the skydive in November but the apprehension in the build-up was a lot worse than the actual dive.

“It was the highlight for me. I was more relaxed than I expected, especially when the parachute finally came out.

“Hopefully with one or two more donations we can reach £2,012 each, which would be amazing really.” The fundraising mission, titled Challenge 2012, was set up in memory of Ben’s friend Simon Gough who died during a routine spinal operation.

In their final challenge, the Manchester United Santa Dash, they finished first and third, Ben just pipping Old Trafford season ticket holder Matthew to the finish line there.

Ben now intends to take part in this year’s Manchester and New York marathons, and Matthew is having a “well-deserved break”.