Two sisters from Bideford are taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of North Devon’s two hospice charities.

Gemma Copp, 32, is running in aid of North Devon Hospice, while sister Vikki Oliver, 29, is taking part in aid of Children's Hospice South West.

They have spent many months training together for their first ever marathon, at the same time as fundraising for their chosen charities.

Mum-of-two Gemma, who works at Holiday Cottages' The Travel Chapter, said: "I'm running for North Devon Hospice because it's a local charity which is close to the hearts of a lot of people.

"In my work at Travel Chapter I've been volunteering for the hospice for the last few years. It's a place of pure beauty and this is something I can do to help raise the mammoth amount of money they need every year."

Vikki, who is also a mum-of-two and works as a part-time dental nurse at the Quay Dental Practice, said: "I'm running for Children's Hospice South West and being a mum of two, I can see the level of care they provide is amazing.

"It's not just for the child who is poorly but there's support for the whole family too. What they do is just incredible."

As well as sharing training programmes to prepare for the gruelling 26.2 miles, the pair have raised more than £1,000 each for their chosen charities. The sisters say the whole process has been a joint effort.

"We do train a lot together and the London Marathon was something that was on our to-do list." said Gemma.

"This is our first ever marathon and to be lucky enough to have two local charities allow us to run for them has made it all the more special."

Vikki added: "To be able to do our fundraising together is great too. We're there for one another on the end of the phone if one of us is struggling. Each training run we're also there to help each other round."

On the thorny issue of who will finish quicker, Gemma said: "Vikki is much more of a natural runner! I want to do well and am competitive with myself, but she's definitely the most competitive! She'll leave me right from the start!"

The motivation to keep them going through the pain barrier will come from those who have donated towards their fundraising. Gemma said: "Knowing that we're doing this for two amazing charities and that people have sponsored us will definitely spur us on. We don't want to let these people down so we'll give it all we can."

To sponsor the sisters, and spur them on further towards their London Marathon goal, please visit virginmoneygiving.com and search for either Vikki Oliver (to donate to Children's Hospice South West) or Gemma Copp (to donate towards North Devon Hospice).