A Bishop's Stortford RFC Ladies stalwart has ramped up her preparations to become a rugby record-breaker by climbing Britain's highest mountain. 

Jude McKelvey, 43, scaled Ben Nevis on a wet and wild weekend in Scotland as the last act before she attempts to break two Guinness World Records by playing a game of rugby on Mount Everest in the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge. 

The Broxted resident joined the 30-strong group in the Grampians for a final training weekend ahead of April's 24-day challenge to ruck and maul at 6,500m altitude. 

McKelvey, originally from Omagh in Northern Ireland, is a ball of energy - a mother, regular rugby player and businesswoman who helps tech start-ups grow. 

The devastation of losing middle son Jack to cot death in 2004 has inspired McKelvey to strike up a long-term partnership with the charity, that helps disabled and disadvantaged children and young people in the UK and Ireland. 

"This challenge was never about the bucket list - it was about reaching my peak physical and mental fitness and maintaining that," she said.

"I've been an ambassador with Wooden Spoons for about eight years and learned of the challenge back in June last year, puffed out my chest and went 'I can do that!' 

"It's all about disabled kids and I know a bit about the charity and just had to get involved. 

"This was actually something I could physically do as well and be more involved with rather than just go to balls and buying things at auctions. 

"I have suffered great loss in my life before. We have all got our Everests to overcome, and that's probably one I will never conquer. 

"It just feels good to be giving back to kids."

Since the turn of the year preparations have taken on a new intensity after the group were subjected to rigorous altitude chamber training in Southampton earlier this month. 

The matches will bid to break the record set by the Steve Prescott Foundation at 5,752 metres up Kilimanjaro in 2015.

Each of the 26 challengers has been set a funding target of £10,000, to be used by Wooden Spoon to help young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage in the UK and Ireland.

Teams will be captained by a clutch of rugby stars including Shane Williams, Wales' leading try-scorer, England Women legend Tamara Taylor and 60-cap Test hooker Lee Mears. 

Mears was joined by fellow team captain Ollie Phillips, former IRB Sevens World Player of the Year, in the Ben Nevis mountain range for a weekend of Burns night celebrations and snow climbing skills. 

Not content with the flat plains of Essex, McKelvey is going to great lengths to prepare for her Tibetan test.

"I've really stepped it up coming into 2019 - I've bought an altitude mask!" she said.

"It's quite flat where I am, so trying to find some hills. But I've stepped up my strength and conditioning in the gym. 

"I'm doing a lot more running. I'm going to do a half-marathon before we set off as well in my home town. 

"I must say it's all harder than I thought. I thought it was just walking up hills!"

Support us in the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge to help change the lives of children and young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland - visit everestrugby.org.uk  #everestrugby