A FORMER Peebles High School pupil is setting out to climb Africa’s highest mountain in memory of a beloved friend.

Rachel Alexander is preparing to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro in September, to raise funds for Inspiring Life: Evie Douglas Memorial Fund.

Evangeline Dobson Douglas (Evie) took her own life in November 2014. She had only just turned 21, but had faced ongoing struggles with her mental health.

The charity, founded in her name, works to support others with mental health issues, while raising awareness, challenging stigma, and fundraising for charities, individuals, and support and activity groups.

Rachel, who was Evie’s neighbour, said: “Growing up next door to Evie and being in the same year at school we saw each other most days.

“Although we were in different friend groups, Evie’s infectious smile always caught my attention and made me smile too.

“I admired Evie for her need for adventure and marvellous talents in particular her stunning dancing and art.”

Evie’s mother Freda, will also be travelling out to Africa.

And although she will not be taking on the challenge, she will be supporting Rachel every step of the way.

She said: “This challenge will raise awareness of mental health issues and raise money for our charity. Rachel responded to Evie’s bucket list.

“Climbing Kilimanjaro will prove that, mentally and physically, mountains can be conquered.”

Rachel added: “I can only hope that I achieve Kilimanjaro but, that aside, this is worth so much more.

“It’s about making people aware that anything is possible and, whether physical or mental, any hill can be overcome.”

There were 784 probable suicides registered in Scotland last year, compared to 680 in 2017.

These figures show that suicide is still one of the leading killers among young Scots, making the work of Inspiring Life more important than ever.

A JustGiving page has been set up for the cause. So far, almost £1000 has been donated between 36 individual donors.

Money can be donated at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rachel-jane2.

There will also be a quiz night to raise money for Inspiring Life at the Green Tree Hotel, Peebles, on Wednesday, August 7.